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Posted by: bjb

More main-stream media coverage on “the cloud”, this time from The Current

“They ask young people what do you think the cloud looks like? They use almost religious terminology to describe it when in fact the internet is just a bunch of data farms on the Colombia river or routers in a room in suburban Ottawa. Everything’s beige.”

Douglas Coupland on Alcatel-Lucent, in a The Current episode produced by Kristin Nelson.

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Posted by: bjb

I was pleased to see “the cloud” described in plain terms in this CBC news article:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/how-to-keep-your-private-photos-from-running-wild-on-the-web-1.2753397

“Don’t call it ‘the cloud.’ Call it someone else’s computer,” wrote security blogger Graham Cluley in a post last December, saying that mentality will make people more mindful of the security risks.

Hopefully, we can go back to calling data centres “data centres” again, soon.

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Posted by: bjb

A friend recently was going to update his Facebook app on his Android tablet. Even he was shocked to see what permissions Facebook was requiring for the upgrade. Facebook was requiring the following new permissions in order to complete the upgrade:

  • YOUR MESSAGES
    • read your text messages (sms or mms)
  • SYSTEM TOOLS
    • change network connectivity
    • connect and disconnect from wifi
  • HARDWARE CONTROLS
    • change your audio settings
  • YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
    • add or modify calendar events and send email to guests without owner’s knowledge
    • read calendar events plus confidential information
    • read your own contact card

This is in addition to the permissions that the Facebook app already has:

  • SYSTEM TOOLS
    • prevent tablet from sleeping
    • toggle sync on and off
  • HARDWARE CONTROLS
    • record audio
    • take pictures and videos
  • YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
    • modify your contacts
    • read call log
    • read your contact
    • write call log
  • STORAGE
    • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
  • YOUR LOCATION
    • approximate (network-based) location
    • precise (GPS) location
  • YOUR ACCOUNTS
    • add or remove accounts
    • create accounts
    • set passwords
  • NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS
    • full network access
  • PHONE CALLS
    • read phone status and identity
  • the fold (below are “hidden” permissions — it’s an Android thing I guess)
  • DEFAULT
    • com.sec.android.provider.badge.permission.READ
    • com.sec.android.provider.badge.permission.WRITE
  • SYSTEM TOOLS
    • install shortcuts
    • read sync settings
    • send sticky broadcast
  • DEVELOPMENT TOOLS
    • test access to protected storage
  • NETWORK COMMUNICATION
    • download files without notification
    • receive data from internet
    • view wifi connections
    • view network connections
    • google play billing service
  • HARDWARE CONTROLS
    • control vibration
  • YOUR ACCOUNTS
    • find accounts on the device

And people want to keep money and other sensitive info on their Android devices, along with these promiscuous permissions? They wonder why their privacy is being eroded and their identities stolen, when they are giving away the info — and control — themselves?

At this point, even my friend is not keen to upgrade his Facebook app.

If enough people complain this time, we can watch for Facebook to relinquish a couple of the new permissions, then sneak them back in in future upgrades.