Friday, May 27, 2016

Little-Known Facebook Feature Causing Users to Think Twice About What They Say

(May 26, 2016: Clarice Palmer : ANTIMEDIA reproduced under Creative commons licence)

The debate over Internet privacy and the responsibility social media companies should carry in protecting user privacy never ceases to spark controversy — among both users and tech insiders. But while Facebook, one of the most popular social media networks, struggles with accusations of news suppression and even fraud, a new report on the network’s microphone settings is reigniting past fears of surveillance that were never fully addressed.

According to University of South Florida Professor Kelli Burns, Facebook is a huge part of the lives of smartphone users. Due to this widespread addiction, Burns explains, “Anytime you’re using your phone, any kind of information that you’re putting into your phone, looking at on your phone, Facebook can access that.” But details regarding what you’re doing or what you’re browsing while on Facebook are not the only type of data the Silicon Valley giant can access. The social media’s microphone feature, which can be enabled by the user via Facebook’s settings, is also listening.

A few months back, a Facebook user took their concerns over the microphone settings to Reddit. The post quickly went viral, prompting Facebook to issue a statement on the matter. According to the social media network, the company does not “record your conversations.” Instead, the statement claimed, if the user chooses to turn the microphone feature on, Facebook will “use your microphone to identify the things you’re listening to or watching based on the music and TV matches we’re able to identify. If this feature is turned on, it’s only active when you’re writing a status update.”

But According to ABC’s WFLA, Burns might have been able to prove Facebook isn’t telling the whole story behind this technology.

From the publication:
We tested the theory with Kelli, and even we were surprised by what we found and saw.
“Kelli enabled the microphone feature and talked about her desire to go on safari, right down to her mode of transportation. ‘I’m really interested in going on an African safari. I think it’d be wonderful to ride in one of those jeeps,’ she said aloud, phone in hand.

“Less than 60 seconds later, the first post on her Facebook feed was a safari story that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Turns out, it was a story that had been posted three hours earlier. And, after mentioning a jeep, a car ad also appeared on her page.”

This test, the news organization contended, demonstrates how Facebook picks up “buzz words” in order to show that particular user ads and posts matching their interests. The fact the professor made those comments after turning the feature on may serve as an example of how easily Facebook can trick users into giving the company access to their private conversations.

Though Facebook claims it does not store or share user information, the very existence of the technology may give hackers, including government-backed security experts, a reason to explore private data further, putting the privacy — and even safety — of Facebook users in danger. What’s more concerning about this issue is the company’s previous association with the U.S. National Security Agency’s PRISM program, which gave federal agents access to users’ private data, including, emails, photos, and instant messages, among other things. While Facebook’s more recent claims concerning user privacy regarding the microphone feature might be legitimate, the company’s former cooperation with NSA officials could indicate the feds may seek to explore the microphone feature — whether Facebook agrees with them or not.

Smart TV manufacturers like Samsung have recently been forced to publicly address privacy concerns after news broke the technology was listening to users’ conversations. As the same users learn Android Smart TVs may also present vulnerabilities that give hackers the ability to record what they do, other members of the tech industry, like Facebook, might also face growing obstacles and skepticism from users.

In contrast, though Apple has aligned with the federal government in at least one case, the company was widely praised for standing for privacy rights in a legal standoff involving the FBI over the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. But unlike Apple, whose hesitation regarding lobbying practices has earned negative attention from Congress in the past, Facebook has a relatively cozy relationship with Washington. Whether this relationship is mutually beneficial to both parties — and whether Facebook will respond like Apple has — remains to be seen.

This article (Little-Known Facebook Feature Causing Users to Think Twice About What They Say) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Clarice Palmer and Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article at



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Woman Leaves Politically Correct Politicians Gobsmacked As She Claim Immigrants Prioritised Over Disabled People For Social Housing

An angry woman voters who claims her disabled mother has been bumped down the social housing waiting list because immigrants are prioritised, stunned politically correct Europhile politicians during the first Brexit TV debate broadcast by the BBC last night. Emily Wood laid into the smug, self righteous pro-Brussels politicians in a heated exchange on the EU in a broadcast dominated by the immigration issue and the effect mass immigration and huge nimbers of illegal immigrants has on Britain.

In a stunning attack Ms. Wood, a music producer, from Dorset, revealed her disabled mother had been bounced down the waiting list for a single storey house by town council bueaucrats who, allegedly acting on instructions from central government, prioritise immigrants for all social housing, demanding: "Where are we going to put them all?"

Anti EU cmapaingner Emily Wood who claims her mother is being blocked from social housing because priority is given to immigrants (picture source: Daily Express

Woods passionate plea to voters to support leaving the EU, Brexit, came just hours after official figures revealed that net migration has soared to 333,000 in the year to December, the second highest annual level on record. This is in spite of government promises to reduce net immigration to tens of thousands. One of the main campaign claims made by supporters of Brexit is that Britain cannot possibly regain control of its borders while the country is part of the European Union.

The point about immigrants abusing the social housing system at a time when Britain has a serious housing crisis is well made. Due to crazy purchase prices and rents in the private housing sector, many families and single people are unable to afford their own home, and social housing is being given to immigrants in order that they may cheat the system. All this week, 23 - 27 May 2016, on daytime TV (which us disabled, retired people have free time to watch,) the BBC has been running a documentary series on abuses of the social housing system. Day after day cases were highlighted in which unscrupulous people had fraudulently obtained tenancies of local authority or housing association owned properties, claimed housing allowance in the name of a fictitious tenant to cover the rent, and then sub - let properties designed for a couple of a family to three or four tenants.

As the other audience members supported Emily Wood and tried to make left wing politicians acknowledge the impact immigration has on access to housing for young people and lower income families, Miss Wood rounded on pro-Brexit former SNP leader Alex Salmond and Labour’s Alan Johnson, who said people were wrong to link the houseing crisis to immigration. Neither could satisfactorily explain what is causing it of course, maybe its because not enough of us believe in the 'house fairy'. Left wing and politically correct thinkers certainly seem to believe utopian can be delivered but only if everyone wished hard enough.

When Salmond replied to Ms Wood's point about housing ans immigration levels by saying: "I wouldn't make that connection - if we have a housing shortage, we should build more houses, not kick people out of the country." she hit back by saying:

"How the heck are we meant to house them when we haven't got enough houses as it is? Where are you going to put them? Where?"

The BBC debate was skewed by pro - EU audience member using the usual left wing tactic of trying to shout down anyone who opposed their views. Asked for his thoughts on the row, former Tory defence secretary Liam Fox said Britain should use the £10 billion a year we sent to the EU to pay for more housing and to boost the NHS.

He said: “Does anybody think we could not use £10billion to help improve the quality of health service, housing or anything else?"

UKIP’s Diane James, also representing Brexit, told another young voter that they stood virtually no chance of ever affording a home if we stay in the EU because immigration is pushing prices out of ordinary people’s reach.

Much like the referendum campaign itself, the conversation during a fractious and at time uncontrolled debate focused on the twin subjects of immigration and the economy.


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Europe posts menu

Help! Immigrants have taken over our town, pleads German Mayor

The mayor of ski resort Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in Bravaria, has sent a plea for help to the regional government begging for help in tackling the problem of crime among refugees. Police officers say "blacks are in charge of the town." The letter, intended to serve as a warning to authorities in Germany's immigrant hot spots, has been sent by Mayor Sigrid Meierhofer on Sunday, according to Merkur newspaper

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