The Government doesn’t need a police state when it has Facebook

That’s the sentiment I described years ago, and it hasn’t changed since.

All the government has to do to get enough info to dictate people’s choices is nationalize Facebook servers. You’ve already provided everything the government needs to know to regulate people’s lives into state controlled totalitarianism. Why do they need to wiretap your phone and look at your library checkouts?

In fact, this article explains just how bad, even the private Facebook, has with security.

The problem: “deleted” photos never go away

When we first investigated this phenomenon in 2009, we discovered that photos “deleted” from Facebook seemingly never go away if you have a direct link to the image file on Facebook’s servers. Users who might have had second thoughts about posting a photo—whether it was because they didn’t want retaliation from an employer, wanted to avoid family drama, or uploaded a photo of a friend without their permission—could certainly remove the image from Facebook’s main user interface, but as long as someone had a direct link to the .jpg file in question, the photo would remain accessible for an indefinite amount of time. When we asked Facebook about it, we were told that the company was “working with our content delivery network (CDN) partner to significantly reduce the amount of time that backup copies persist.”

But when we followed up on the story more than a year later, our “deleted” photos were still accessible via direct link. That’s when the reader stories started pouring in: we were told horror stories about online harassment using photos that were allegedly deleted years ago, and users who were asked to take down photos of friends that they had put online.

There were plenty of stories in between as well, and panicked Facebook users continue to e-mail me, asking if we have heard of any new way to ensure that their deleted photos are, well, deleted. For example, one reader linked me to a photo that a friend of his had posted of his toddler crawling naked on the lawn. He asked his friend to take it down for obvious reasons, and so the friend did—in May of 2008. As of this writing in 2012, I have personally confirmed that the photo is still online, as are several others that readers linked me to that were deleted at various points in 2009 and 2010.

(Amusingly, after publishing the 2010 followup, Facebook appeared to delete my photos from its CDN that I had linked in the piece. The company never offered me any explanation, but my photos were the only ones that were deleted at that time. Other “deleted” photos that I had saved links to—ones that weren’t from my account and were deleted even earlier than mine—remained online.)

Some people on the internet may foolishly choose to discount this and believe it is a conspiracy. The joke will be on them. All the social media sites are no better, although some have better security and business arrangements.

All the people that complained about Bush’s Patriot Act destroying their Civil Liberties… probably ate a bunch of Kool Aid and got distracted, before the government nationalized GM and healthcare.

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