All in a Facebook day’s work

What is the rub on or about Facebook? First of all, I think a lot of people are looking at Facebook’s relationship with its users in the wrong way.

The problem is the business model is not what many people assume it is. The users, those people who put all their personal information on there, are actually the “product” – not the client or consumer. That’s not just me, even CNN’s business pundits have said it.

The client of Facebook is the advertisers or those who use that bulk information, which Facebook sells too. See, it is just that people have misunderstood the real business model.

And when it comes down to protecting the users? Well, that was never the real priority or objective of the business model. Protecting their clients, the advertisers or paying consumers, is a necessary part of the model. They are the consumers.


See also:

Right Ring | Bullright

New bear is the traditional bear

Putin’s address to parliament: healthy conservatism and robust defence

Nikita Sorokin | 14 December

In his annual state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin laid emphasis on social, economic and home policy problems. The Russian leader was especially emotional when discussing the moral health of society and Russia’s role in the modern-day world.

He delivered his address on Constitution Day, December 12th, when Russians marked 20 years since the adoption of the constitution. Putin said the constitutional provisions determining the rights and freedoms of man and citizen are unchangeable, even though some pinpoint changes may and should be made in other chapters of the constitution due to law-enforcement practice and the course of events.

The constitutional process also prompts the need for promoting political competition. Vladimir Putin is certain that new parties that will successfully emerge from local elections will soon challenge the political old-timers. According to the President, the State is interested in updating government agencies by appointing well-trained and responsible officials. Putin also pointed out the need for tightening public control of bureaucracy.  […/]

“The Russian President feels that many countries are revising moral standards and removing cultural differences and national traditions.”

Demands are made today that one and all not only recognize everyone’s fair right to the freedom of conscience, to political views and privacy, but that they also mandatorily recognize of equal value, however strange it may seem, good and evil, the notions that are opposite by their very meaning. We know that increasingly great numbers of people around the world share our stand on the protection of traditional values, the values of a traditional family, human life, including religious life, the values of humanism and world diversity. This is clearly a conservative stand. But in the words of Nikolai Berdyaev, the idea of conservatism is not that it prevents progress and upward movement, but that it prevents one from moving backwards and downwards, to chaotic darkness.

Wait, did  Putin just cleverly appeal to Humanists, Orthodox,  the civil liberty crowd, progressives, Christians and conservative traditionalists on the same platform? I think he did.  Did he alienate a large constituency? I don’t think so.  And a nice side note to the bureaucracy-weary and Constitutionalists. Does the bear have something up his sleeve?
[Part #1 – more … later]

RightRing | Bullright

StartPage search engine privacy

No PRISM. No Surveillance. No Government Back Doors. You Have our Word on it.

Giant US government Internet spying scandal revealed

The Washington Post and The Guardian have revealed a US government mass Internet surveillance program code-named “PRISM”. They report that the NSA and the FBI have been tapping directly into the servers of nine US service providers, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL and Skype, and began this surveillance program at least seven years ago. (clarifying slides)
These revelations are shaking up an international debate.
StartPage has always been very outspoken when it comes to protecting people’s privacy and civil liberties. So it won’t surprise you that we are a strong opponent of overreaching, unaccountable spy programs like PRISM. In the past, even government surveillance programs that were begun with good intentions have become tools for abuse, for example tracking civil rights and anti-war protesters.
Programs like PRISM undermine our Privacy, disrupt faith in governments, and are a danger to the free Internet.
StartPage and its sister search engine Ixquick have in their 14-year history never provided a single byte of user data to the US government, or any other government or agency. Not under PRISM, nor under any other program in the US, nor under any program anywhere in the world. We are not like Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Apple, Skype, or the other US companies who got caught up in the web of PRISM surveillance.
Here’s how we are different:
  • StartPage does not store any user data. We make this perfectly clear to everyone, including any governmental agencies. We do not record the IP addresses of our users and we don’t use tracking cookies, so there is literally no data about you on our servers to access. Since we don’t even know who our customers are, we can’t share anything with Big Brother. In fact, we’ve never gotten even a single request from a governmental authority to supply user data in the fourteen years we’ve been in business.
  • StartPage uses encryption (HTTPS) by default. Encryption prevents snooping. Your searches are encrypted, so others can’t “tap” the Internet connection to snoop what you’re searching for. This combination of not storing data together with using strong encryption for the connections is key in protecting your Privacy.
  • Our company is based in The Netherlands, Europe. US jurisdiction does not apply to us, at least not directly. Any request or demand from ANY government (including the US) to deliver user data, will be thoroughly checked by our lawyers, and we will not comply unless the law which actually applies to us would undeniably require it from us. And even in that hypothetical situation, we refer to our first point; we don’t even have any user data to give. We will never cooperate with voluntary spying programs like PRISM.
  • StartPage cannot be forced to start spying. Given the strong protection of the Right to Privacy in Europe , European governments cannot just start forcing service providers like us to implement a blanket spying program on their users. And if that ever changed, we would fight this to the end.

Privacy. It’s not just our policy, it’s our business.

H/T to Pepp for forwarding the  link to add it.

Spy Center Surrounded in Secrecy

Surprise Visitors Are Unwelcome At The NSA’s Unfinished Utah Spy Center (Especially When They Take Photos)

Welcome to Orwell’s 1984

3/04/2013 —
Most people who visit Salt Lake City in the winter months are excited about taking advantage of the area’s storied slopes. While skiing was on my itinerary last week, I was more excited about an offbeat tourism opportunity in the area: I wanted to check out the construction site for “the country’s biggest spy center.”

An electrifying piece about domestic surveillance by national security writer James Bamford that appeared in Wired last year read like a travel brochure to me:

“In the little town of Bluffdale, Big Love and Big Brother have become uneasy neighbors. Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.”

More at :

NSA Whistleblower: “Every American Is Under Surveillance”

Thursday, 06 December 2012

“What I’ve been basically saying for quite some time, is that the FBI has access to the data collected, which is basically the emails of virtually everybody in the country,” NSA whistleblower William Binney affirmed in a recent interview with the Kremlin-funded news outlet Russia Today (RT). “And the FBI has access to it.”

Binney was asked by the Russian news outlet about whether domestic surveillance efforts have intensified since President Obama took office in 2008. He responded:

The change is it’s getting worse. They are doing more. He is supporting the building of the Bluffdale facility, which is over two billion dollars they are spending on storage room for data. That means that they are collecting a lot more now and need more storage for it. That facility by my calculations that I submitted to the court for the Electronic Frontiers Foundation against NSA would hold on the order of 5 zettabytes of data. Just that current storage capacity is being advertised on the web that you can buy. And that’s not talking about what they have in the near future.

The overall theme represented in Binney’s testimony seeks to protect the freedoms and liberties granted to Americans under the U.S. Constitution. “The central [U.S.] government defines what is right and wrong and whether or not they target you,” Binney concluded. “They are violating the foundation of this entire country … and they are not living up to the oath of office.”

Read at:

An Old Paper (Background – old programs don’t die….):

Anticipating Homeland Security:Information Anxiety and the United States Commission on National Security/21stCentury

Jodi Dean

Although the IOA, headed by convicted felon John Poindexter, was later shut down, concern remained that the DHS would continue the IAO’s plans to integrate all available electronic information into a central database that could then be mined for patterns. In January2003, Senator Russ Feingold proposed the Data Mining Moratorium Act. Had it passed the act would have suspended all data-mining activities by the Departments of Defense and HomelandSecurity and required all federal agencies to report on data-mining programs in development or use within ninety days.

In a statement introducing the bill, Feingold noted, “Like manyAmericans, I was surprised to learn during the last few months that the Department of Defense has spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing a data-mining system called Total Information Awareness while permitting the progeny of Total Information Awareness to appear in places like the Department of Homeland Security.” As Feingold’s bill languished incommittee and funding for the IAO was eliminated, data-mining projects persisted, some under Defense Department black budgets, others deep in the maze of the Department of HomelandSecurity.

One such program developed within the DHS and continuing the work of the IAO is ADVISE—the Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic EnhancementProgram. ADVISE collects massive amounts of publicly available data (including purchasing,travel, and internet-accessing habits) cross references it with information gathered from intelligence and law enforcement, and searches for links and patterns. As reported by OMB Watch, “the technology will draw connections between persons, determining who is related towhom, who works with whom, who lives close to whom, and who is associated with what organization/s.” One’s first impressions of “homeland security,” then, should not be dismissed too quickly—suspicion is fully justified.

Read academic paper at:


ADVISE (Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement) is a research and development program within the United States Department of Homeland Security Threat and Vulnerability Testing and Assessment (TVTA) portfolio. It is reported to be developing a massive data mining system, which would collect and analyze data on everyone in the United States and perform a “threat analysis” of them.

The data can be everything from financial records, phone records, emails, blog entries, website searches, and any other electronic information that can be put into a computer system. The information is then analyzed, and used to monitor social threats such as community-forming, terrorism, political organizing, or crime.

ADVISE will possess the ability to store one quadrillion data entities.

The exact scope and degree of completion of the program is unclear. ADVISE is in the 2004-2006 Federal DHS Budget as a component of the $47 million TVTA program.

The program was officially scrapped in September 2007 after the agency’s internal Inspector General found that pilot testing of the system had been performed using data on real people without required privacy safeguards in place.


Programs rear their heads and fade off the radar. Then another similar program appears again. By now these programs ought to be pretty familiar to lawmakers. They are determined. They are certainly building all this storage space. It’s the gestalt, stupid.

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