Are Twitter’s ‘Locked Accounts’ a Ransom Racket?

A while back, I wrote a post called Zero Guy, which looked at a seemingly growing phenomenon of Twitter users unfollowing their entire friend list. I’d always assumed this was a deliberate action. But as I discovered in the course of the past week, it may not be the account holders who are unfollowing literally ALL of their friends. It may in fact be Twitter. There’s a suggestion that this might all be part of a ransom racket which has heavily damaged the accounts and public image of some users who won’t ‘pay up’…

Continue reading Are Twitter’s ‘Locked Accounts’ a Ransom Racket?

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How Snoopers Access the Tweets in Your Protected Twitter Account

Potected Twitter

As an advocate of online privacy, I’ve issued numerous warnings on how easily Internet users can bypass the supposed protections on social media. In this latest installment, I’m going to begin by informing you that… brace yourself… the Account Protection feature on Twitter does NOT retrospectively protect your tweets.

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Direct Message Read Receipts: Another Desperate Mistake For Twitter?

twirpz-has-read-your-direct-message

Essential modernisation. A good way to demonstrate that you’re proactively ignoring someone. A stalker’s charter… These are some of the reactions to Twitter’s introduction, on 8th September 2016, of Read Receipts for Direct Messages. Although Tweeps can opt out, Twitter automatically opted users into the new system without warning, consent, or in many cases, even knowledge.

Continue reading Direct Message Read Receipts: Another Desperate Mistake For Twitter?

How To Find Twitter Users’ Previous Usernames

You Cannot Hide on Twitter

This comes in a line of posts which could be placed into the general category of: “Don’t think you can behave like an absolute plank on social media and then remove all trace of what you’ve done”. Social media is terrible at keeping secrets, and when it comes to username changes on Twitter, that couldn’t be more true. Even after Twitter accounts have been deleted and are long gone, it’s still often possible to track their username progressions, and establish an overview of what the users were up to. Continue reading How To Find Twitter Users’ Previous Usernames

Microsoft Privacy Update: What You REALLY Need To Know

Microsoft Privacy 2

With Microsoft updating its Services Agreement and Privacy Statement from 1st August 2015, the usual, weasel-worded emails have been dropping into our inboxes, expressing how much the business cares for our privacy and gives us… ahem… ‘control’. As I said in an article about Soundcloud, the only real concern data-mining businesses have about our privacy, is how much they can invade it, and then gloss over their gross invasions with soundbyte PR. But let’s not jump the gun. Here’s Microsoft’s soundbyte PR…

We remain committed to protecting your data, being clear about how we use it and putting you in control. For example, we do not use the contents of your email, chat, video calls, documents, photos or voicemail to target advertising to you.

Sounds great, doesn’t it. Of course, they have to protect everyone’s data within the bounds of the law, so it always makes me laugh the way these companies pitch data protection like it’s some sort of luxury commitment, offered out of the goodness of their hearts. And just because Microsoft doesn’t scan your private communication and content for the purpose of targeting ads, it doesn’t mean the organisation doesn’t scan. Indeed, it has to scan email – otherwise how on earth would it recognise spam? Continue reading Microsoft Privacy Update: What You REALLY Need To Know

Cookie Horrors: Extreme Data Mining and Online Spying

Extreme Data Mining and Online Spying

Do you block or regularly delete Web cookies?… Nice one! Unfortunately, however, not everyone wants to congratulate you. Indeed, it’s probably fair to say that the Internet as a whole hates your very guts. But don’t worry. The Internet has many sly solutions to your increasingly futile attempts to regain some privacy, and the more of us who block or delete cookies, the worse things are likely to get. Continue reading Cookie Horrors: Extreme Data Mining and Online Spying

Is Privacy-Protected Search Just A Gimmick?

Ixquick new

Privacy protection has become a big factor in the realm of smaller search engines. It’s one way in which an otherwise unremarkable site can compete with the most accomplished and spectacular in the world. If users fear serious privacy breaches enough, they’ll seek out a search engine which professes not to store any of their data, and in the wake of media stories about mass government surveillance, that’s exactly what’s been happening.

But is privacy protection a real commitment on the part of the search providers involved, or is it just a gimmick? If one of the search businesses currently trading on privacy were to grow to the size of Google, would it maintain its values, or would it quietly throw that privacy commitment out of the window and start mining data, just like everyone else?…

Continue reading Is Privacy-Protected Search Just A Gimmick?