Facebook discloses an academic project that tracks the posts users decide not to send.
Updated on September 17, 2016
A research paper I found offers an interesting view into the world of Facebook metadata and why metadata is valuable but there’s more. The two researchers, one from FB, to be expected, but the other is from Carnegie Mellon University(CMU). This is meaningless to a casual reader but CMU maintains a relationship and conducts security research on behalf of the U.S. Government. At times this relationship has come under fire revealing interests in dark programs, “Why was the Black Hat talk on Tor de-anonymization mysteriously canceled?”.
Publicly available facts,
A relationship exists between Facebook security researchers and CMU security researchers
- Sophisticated controls were deployed on live Facebook systems for a 17 day period designed to collect information users didn’t choose to share publicly
- CMU is engaged in information security projects for the US government some of which are secret
- The US Government is conscripting US Internet technology companies to gather the necessary information to support mass surveillance programs
- US Government surveillance programs are authorized by secret laws outside of public scrutiny and democratic review processes
There’s no doubt we live in a hostile world and that information systems play an important role identifying criminals and criminal activities. What are the expectations for Internet companies when supporting governments? What are the ground rules for world Governments to collect information required for investigations? Perhaps the idea of a warrant is old school but if so what is a better solution? Some amount of transparency is necessary for governments and industry to work on this problem together.