Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Ironically, He's Right

Julain Assange has hit the nail on the head:
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange blasted Facebook, calling it the "most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented," Russia Today reported Tuesday.

Assange, who is currently fighting extradition to Sweden from the U.K., claimed on the Russian news channel that the social networking site was used by the U.S. government to spy on its citizens.

"Here we have the world's most comprehensive database about people -- their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives -- all sitting within the United States, all accessible to U.S. intelligence," he said. "Facebook, Google, Yahoo -- all these major U.S. organizations have built-in interfaces for U.S. intelligence."

Assange added, "It's not a matter of serving a subpoena. They have an interface that they have developed for U.S. intelligence to use."

I say "ironically" because one of the stated aims of Facebook was to create an open flow of information for people, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg fancies himself a hacker. Both seem antithetical to the uses that Facebook has taken on in terms of stalking both by individuals as well as by government. Much sport has been had with married men posting their affairs on Facebook and finding themselves facing (pun intended) the music in divorce court, or the drunk college kid losing her job because her friends posted photos of her drunk and in her panties.

And yet, behind all these sardonic come-uppances is a chilling thought: what information about you does Facebook have that you aren't even aware they're using nearly indiscriminately?

For every crisis when Facebook posts a new privacy policy, forcing you to go and reset your profile settings...which many people can't be bothered with...how many dozens of secret little deals is Facebook cutting with advertisers and governments in order for the bigger picture, Facebook's success, to be realized?

Assange is not wrong here. It only makes sense in this era of technoia that governments try to keep tabs on us all.