Loophole opens up Facebook friends list to anyone – even if it’s set to private

Digital Trends recently reported that there is a loophole in Facebook that opens up friends lists to anyone.

 If someone wants to see the friends of a Facebook user who hides their complete friend list from strangers, they can create a new dummy account and send a friend request to that Facebook user. Once the request is sent, even if it is rejected, Facebook will start sending friend suggestions to the dummy account — for users who are already Facebook friends or who have received a friend request from the person in question. In this way, even though there’s no complete friend list, someone looking for more information about a Facebook user will be able to compile at least a robust partial list of their Facebook friends. And while most people aren’t going to bother going out of their way to circumvent settings, the people who will  – malware peddlers, spammers, and stalkers — are exactly the kind of users that people want to avoid when they select tighter privacy settings.

Read the whole article here.

New sexting laws for Victoria

The Herald Sun is reporting that:

ELECTRONICALLY sharing sexually explicit images of another person without their consent – also known as sexting – will become illegal in Victoria.

The government tabled its response to an inquiry into sexting in parliament on Tuesday and the legislation will also ensure youths found sexting do not end up facing child pornography charges.

Legislation will be introduced into Victorian Parliament in 2014, with penalties to be decided then.

The Herald Sun have also promoted the Australian Federal Police video warning young adults of the dangers of sexting.

Some Android games monitor your location

The Australian government’s Stay Smart Online service is advising that some Android games can reveal your location without the user being aware:

Many mobile educational and game applications (apps), despite being designed for young children, have been identified monitoring children’s geographical locations and selling the information to advertisers.

Apps on your phone may request permission to access location, address book, email, SMS and other information as part of their normal functions, but for some apps, access to this information may not be necessary. If you are concerned about the privacy of your family, read the permission information carefully and be selective about granting the app access to information on your phone.

Managing an app’s access to information requires careful attention to the permissions you give the apps when you load it on your smartphone or tablet.

Security firm Bitdefender recently warned about the practice after noticing that some Android games such as Kids Educational Puzzles were requesting permission to track their users’ locations. This information is often sold to advertisers, who use it to target advertisements to specific types of users in particular parts of the world.

Android devices will show a warning screen when an app is installed and run, outlining exactly what type of information it wants to access. The latest version of Android (4.3), installed on new Android devices, includes an App Ops feature that lets you allow or block specific activities for each installed app.

iPhones and iPads do not explicitly highlight the types of data they collect, but you can control apps’ access to location information by looking in Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

Read the whole article here.

It’s complicated by danah boyd

iQ was fortunate enough to hear internationally recognised social media researcher danah boyd speak back in 2012 (click here to access all of iQ’s resources on danah boyd). Now boyd has a book coming out entitled It’s complicated. The blurb from the book (via Amazon) explains what it’s about:

What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens’ use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity.

Boyd’s conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.

This is not an advertisement for the book, just a pointer to a resource that many people may find useful. Public libraries may stock this book.

Social media app winning over kids, but police warn of its nasty Kik

On Sunday, The Age published a report about the social media app Kik.

NSW Police have described it as ”the number one social media problem involving teenagers” – but most parents would barely have heard of messaging app Kik before this week.

Kik’s popularity among young people was highlighted by the disappearance of Sydney teenager Krystal Muhieddine, who left her house early on Tuesday morning in a car with a stranger before being found in country Victoria on Friday.

The app can be installed on iPod touch and iPad devices as well as smart phones. Instead of using phone numbers or real names to contact each other, each Kik member has a user name. Conversations and images can’t be viewed publicly, which makes it much harder for parents to monitor Kik than Facebook or Twitter.

Cyber safety expert Ross Bark said Kik and Instagram were a ”dangerous combination” for teenagers, who post photographs publicly on Instagram and then invite viewers to ”Kik me” privately to chat.

”They’re literally promoting themselves, saying ‘come and talk to me’,” Mr Bark said. ”They can randomly chat with somebody and send images, and they don’t understand the consequences of who is using that information.”

Read the whole story here.

You posted that on Facebook?

Ellen Degeneres has a segment on her show called You posted that on Facebook??

Knowing the names of her audience members, their public Facebook accounts are searched by researchers and the funnier and more questionable photos are then displayed on Ellen’s show. What never fails to amaze me is how embarrassed people are when their photos are displayed publicly. It seems that they’ve forgotten that they were the ones who uploaded the photos to a Facebook account that can be accessed by the general public.

Spying on shoppers?

Recently reported in the news is the UK supermarket Tesco and their plans to scan shoppers for advertising purposes. The Sydney Morning Herald explains:

British supermarket chain Tesco is installing hundreds of high-tech screens that scan the faces of shoppers as they queue at tills to detect their age and sex for advertisers.

The supermarket has signed a deal with Amscreen, a digital signage company owned by Lord Alan Sugar, in a move which drew concern from privacy campaigners about the growing use of ”invasive” technology in shops.

Cameras built into a digital advertising display above the tills identify whether a customer is male or female, estimate their age and judge how long they look at the advertisement displayed.

The ”real-time” data is fed through to advertisers to give them some idea of how effective their campaigns are and to enable them to tailor advertisements to certain times of the day

Not sure what this means for Australia and whether we can expect this soon. Read more here.

I need to know about social networking and online friends

Continuing on with the resources provided by the Australian Communication and Media Authority‘s Cybersmart website, the information social networking and online friends is very useful. It includes information on:

  • Are they my friends in real life too?
  • Know the basics of safe social networking
  • Meeting online friends in the real world – do you really know who you’re meeting?
Well worth checking out. Read the whole post here.

http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Teens/I%20need%20to%20know%20about/Social%20networking%20and%20online%20friends.aspx

I need to know about online gaming

Another resource provided by the Australian Communication and Media Authority‘s Cybersmart website is about online gaming. Covering both video games and gambling, this resource includes information on

  • knowing the basics and
  • protecting yourself

Read the whole post here.