Dear Facebook: your privacy sucks
Security not much chop either, says Sophos
Sick of having its users ask what’s wrong with Facebook privacy, security vendor Sophos has taken its concerns public in this open letter.
It may well be restating things that intelligent and informed users could already have worked out for themselves, but Sophos’ complaint adds to public concerns raised by credible sources.
Sophos’ letter suggests Facebook adopt three basic principles in its handling of user information: decent default privacy, vetting of application developers, and HTTPS not as an option, but as a default for all access*.
When adding new information-sharing features, Sophos says, the popular social site should not assume that users want these features defaulting to “on”.
As to application developers, Sophos is harsher in its terminology. Because it has more than a million un-vetted application developers, the letter calls the Facebook apps market “riddled with rogue applications and viral scams”.
Sophos ends with a call to action, asking Facebook when it plans to act – or if, perhaps, it intends to leave action until its hand is forced by regulators. Perhaps optimistically, Sophos seems to think that Facebook might recognize a “greater good” that isn’t its own. ®
*Mind you, Sophos didn't think to put its own open letter on an HTTPS connection. The open letter says HTTPS should be enforced "all the time, by default". ®
The Great Unwashed
"Furthermore, since when did it become a good idea to post private information into an internet based service of which is designed to share information between people and then moan that your shits not private?"
Personal privacy is obvious, if you come from an educated position.
The vast majority of the public is totally uneducated in privacy, and don't understand the implication until they smack them in the face. So while you might think it's fine to get on your high horse because your sensible, we ALL have responsibility to educate and protect our fellow citizens. Facebook (and all other sites) should operate from a stance of Informed Consent - everything is secure, and only the informed people will consent to opening the door.
'Mind you, Sophos didn't think to put its own open letter on an HTTPS connection. The open letter says HTTPS should be enforced "all the time, by default"'
Er... They mean it in the context of Facebook, not the entire of the Internet. This is to do with account hijacking, not anonymous browsing of public domain content where HTTPS serves no purpose.
Facebook's https option
As our letter makes clear, Facebook doesn't turn on https by default - and if you do turn it on they only use it "whenever possible".
What they mean by "whenever possible" is whenever it's convenient for them.
So not, for instance, when you visit the mobile version of their website. And not when you visit third party apps running on the Facebook platform.
It should be on, by default, all the time you're connected to Facebook. Period.
[ps. can we have a Zuck avatar?]