Tag: web2.0

Facebook updates: nothing to fuss about

So Facebook, the current paramount social website, updated its website with the possibility to download all your data (among other updates). I don’t see why people need to fuss about this.

Although maybe useful, the important is not to be able to retrieve your data. After all, if your pictures are on Facebook, they were previously on your computer / camera / whatever. So you should already have them (and Facebook sends them to you in a zip file? what a feature!). Unless Facebook allows you to also download data about you but uploaded by others; this is a bit more interesting from a sociological / academic point of view (what has been posted about you). And then? A “big” step towards interoperability between social websites? Are you joking? For interoperability, you need 2 partners and, to my knowledge, no other websites (social or not) are currently offering the possibility to upload data from Facebook. Will it arrive? I’m sure of it. Is it secure? I doubt it: nothing is 100% secure in IT, Facebook is no exception. But this is still not important!

The important thing would have been to have total control on your data. The ability to post data. The ability to effectively remove data (Facebook policy explicitely states nothing is necessarily physically erased, not even your account if you decide to close it!). The ability to remove data about you posted by others. The ability to control data posted about your children. The ability to have real privacy.

So, why do I blog this? I don’t really get why people are so excited about this feature. Oxford building a new library [1, 2], why and how, this has nothing to do with the topic of this post but this is news!

Bodleian Library: Divinity School
Photo credit: Bodleian Library: Divinity School by Beth Hoffmann on Flickr (CC-by-nc-sa)

Llinking two recent posts seen elsewhere

  • Namechk.com (Check Username Availability at Multiple Social Networking Sites) bookmarked on delicious.com by Philippe
  • one possible use of the Facebook profile information: generating a good dictionary from fabebook-names-original.txt to brute-force password” seen on Twitter.com/adulau

Now use Namechk to find all combinations of >= 2 letters used on more than 1 service. I guess there is a high probability that two identical username strings on two different services belong to the same physical person. Look at their profile/activities/pages/whatever on the various websites, you have now a wonderfull network of knowledge about these people. I also guess that if a flaw is discovered in one of these services that allows to recover users passwords, you could use the same password on all the other services for the same username.

Or take Alexandre’s fabebook-names-original.txt items and sign in other services with them. You have now saturated the web2.0 space. People will need to be more creative to sign in now.

(ok, I know these service providers should have put some protection in place in order to avoid large-scale abuse of their services)