Facebook tracking my surfing?

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Facebook tracking my surfing?

Steve McCabe
Hi, folks

I was listening to this yesterday:

http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20110927-0920-facebook_privacy_fears-048.mp3

The basic point is a claim that Facebook now places cookies on users' computers which will track this users' browsing history and transmit it back to Facebook HQ.

Thus doesn't make sense to me. I thought cookies were passive things that simply could be written to it read, but which couldn't themselves do anything.

Or have I missed something crucial here?

Cheers
Steve

Sent from my iPhone
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Re: Facebook tracking my surfing?

Zeedar Marc

On Sep 27, 2011, at 11:36 AM, Steve wrote:

> The basic point is a claim that Facebook now places cookies on users' computers which will track this users' browsing history and transmit it back to Facebook HQ.
>
> Thus doesn't make sense to me. I thought cookies were passive things that simply could be written to it read, but which couldn't themselves do anything.


Here's a good (but slightly technical) wrap-up on the issue:

   http://nikcub-static02.appspot.com/logging-out-of-facebook-is-not-enough

The short of it is that logging out of Facebook does not erase the cookies they have saved. Thus when you visit any other site with a Facebook "like" icon on it, that code -- since it's from Facebook.com and has permission to read Facebook's cookies -- can read those cookies and discover your identity. Then it can transmit the URL you're viewing to Facebook along with your identity, and bingo, Facebook knows what sites you're visiting without you doing anything.

The scary part is not just that _Facebook_ knows where you're surfing, but that those sites you visit can apparently show up in your friend's feeds automatically, sharing what you're viewing with friends. If that's what you want, fine. But if it's happening without you realizing it, yikes! You'd better be careful where you surf!

The "solution" is apparently to use one browser for Facebook and a different browser for everything else.


Marc Zeedar
Publisher, Real Studio Developer magazine
www.rsdeveloper.com




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Re: Facebook tracking my surfing?

Marilyn Matty
In reply to this post by Steve McCabe

On Sep 27, 2011, at 2:36 PM, Steve wrote:

> Hi, folks
>
> I was listening to this yesterday:
>
> http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20110927-0920- 
> facebook_privacy_fears-048.mp3
>
> The basic point is a claim that Facebook now places cookies on  
> users' computers which will track this users' browsing history and  
> transmit it back to Facebook HQ.
>
> Thus doesn't make sense to me. I thought cookies were passive  
> things that simply could be written to it read, but which couldn't  
> themselves do anything.

There's a good analysis about this in the Wall St. Journal:

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2011/09/26/facebook-defends-getting-data- 
from-logged-out-users/

Marilyn

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Re: Facebook tracking my surfing?

Randy B. Singer
In reply to this post by Steve McCabe

On Sep 27, 2011, at 11:36 AM, Steve wrote:

> The basic point is a claim that Facebook now places cookies on  
> users' computers which will track this users' browsing history and  
> transmit it back to Facebook HQ.

At least if you use the Chrome browser, there is a plug-in you can  
use that will keep Facebook from tracking you:

Facebook Disconnect
<https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ 
ejpepffjfmamnambagiibghpglaidiec>

___________________________________________
Randy B. Singer
Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)

Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html
___________________________________________



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Re: Facebook tracking my surfing?

Qazwart
Hey, it's not just Facebook. It's Google too. And of course, the
adservers like DoubleClick (aren't they owned by Google?).

Basically, whenever there's a URL on a webpage for a particular
domain, that domain may read that cookie for that domain and the URL
of the webpage you're visiting. Some browsers allow you to block a
site from putting a third party cookie, but in my experience, once a
cookie is stored in a browser, that third party site can read it.

If you read Gmail (or Yahoo mail or Hotmail) on your browser, a cookie
associated with your account is stored in your web browser. When you
log out, that cookie is still there and associated with your account.
When you go to another site where that company has something embedded
in a webpage (such Google's AdSense) that company can associate your
account with them with the webpage you're visiting.

What's difference about Facebook is the sheer amount of data they have
on you, and the sheer number of sites that have code that allows
Facebook to access the URL of the page you're visiting and associate
it with your account.

See all those 'Like" buttons or those "Share on..." buttons that
abound on the web? Those companies pay websites to put those buttons
on their webpage. And, that allows those companies to associate your
account with that URL.

Ghostery can help block stuff. Ghostery is a plugin for all browsers
including Safari. It really helps block all those Netflix pop-behind
ads, etc.

Another is a Web browser called Fluid (http://fluidapp.com/). Fluid
makes a particular website like a Mac application. However, one of the
features it has is the ability to create separate databases for
cookies. Let's say you create a Fluid app for Facebook and only use
Fluid to visit Facebook. Facebook's cookie is only in that Fluid
application. If you use either another Fluid app or another browser,
Facebook doesn't have a cookie stored in your browser. You can create
separate Fluid apps for each website you visit that can track you
(Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, etc), and that helps segregates those
tracking cookies.

Fluid use to be free, but now its $5.00.
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Re: Facebook tracking my surfing?

Nigel Stanger
In reply to this post by Randy B. Singer
On Wed Sep 28 10:25:21 2011, Randy B. Singer spake thus:
>
> At least if you use the Chrome browser, there is a plug-in you can  
> use that will keep Facebook from tracking you:
>
> Facebook Disconnect

Facebook Disconnect has been superseded by Disconnect, from the same author, which blocks more than just Facebook and works in Chrome, Safari and Firefox (although I couldn't get the site to recognise the latter).

<http://disconnect.me/>

--
Nigel Stanger, Dunedin, NEW ZEALAND.  http://xri.net/=nigel.stanger


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Re: Facebook tracking my surfing?

Maurice van Peursem
In reply to this post by Steve McCabe
>Hi, folks
>
>I was listening to this yesterday:
>
>http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20110927-0920-facebook_privacy_fears-048.mp3
>
>The basic point is a claim that Facebook now places cookies on
>users' computers which will track this users' browsing history and
>transmit it back to Facebook HQ.
>
>Thus doesn't make sense to me. I thought cookies were passive things
>that simply could be written to it read, but which couldn't
>themselves do anything.
>
>Or have I missed something crucial here?

It is even worse than that, I have no account with Facebook, and I
destroy all my cookies when I log out of my browser, but because of
all the 'Like' and 'Login with Facebook' buttons, Facebook can track
even my surfbehavior with my IP-adddress! Luckily I have no 'friends'
who can see what sites I visit...

Cheers,
Maurice
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Re: Facebook tracking my surfing?

David Ross
On 9/28/11 6:46 AM, Maurice van Peursem wrote:

>> Hi, folks
>>
>> I was listening to this yesterday:
>>
>> http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20110927-0920-facebook_privacy_fears-048.mp3
>>
>> The basic point is a claim that Facebook now places cookies on
>> users' computers which will track this users' browsing history and
>> transmit it back to Facebook HQ.
>>
>> Thus doesn't make sense to me. I thought cookies were passive things
>> that simply could be written to it read, but which couldn't
>> themselves do anything.
>>
>> Or have I missed something crucial here?
>
> It is even worse than that, I have no account with Facebook, and I
> destroy all my cookies when I log out of my browser, but because of
> all the 'Like' and 'Login with Facebook' buttons, Facebook can track
> even my surfbehavior with my IP-adddress! Luckily I have no 'friends'
> who can see what sites I visit...

Facebook WAS setting a cookie with your Facebook ID in it. All those
Facebook "Like" buttons would work if this cookie was set. If you didn't
have a Facebook account there would be no cookie with your non existent ID.

Facebook made a change in the last 48 hours such that this cookie that
is set IF you log into Facebook is erased when you log out of Facebook.
There are some other cookies they set which allow Facebook to know your
computer type, browser, screen size, etc... so they can present you with
a better set of screens.

See:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/facebook-fixes-cookie-behavior-after-logging-out/4120?tag=search-results-rivers;item16
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Re: Facebook tracking my surfing?

@lbutlr
In reply to this post by Zeedar Marc
On Sep 27, 2011, at 13:36, Zeedar Marc <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The "solution" is apparently to use one browser for Facebook and a different browser for everything else.

Or not use Facebook at all…


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Re: Facebook tracking my surfing?

Kevin van Haaren
In reply to this post by Qazwart
> David Weintraub <mailto:[hidden email]>
> September 27, 2011 5:20 PM
>
>
> Another is a Web browser called Fluid (http://fluidapp.com/). Fluid
> makes a particular website like a Mac application. However, one of the
> features it has is the ability to create separate databases for
> cookies. Let's say you create a Fluid app for Facebook and only use
> Fluid to visit Facebook. Facebook's cookie is only in that Fluid
> application. If you use either another Fluid app or another browser,
> Facebook doesn't have a cookie stored in your browser. You can create
> separate Fluid apps for each website you visit that can track you
> (Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, etc), and that helps segregates those
> tracking cookies.
>
> Fluid use to be free, but now its $5.00.

Fluid is still free, but the cookie separation you mention is only
available for the $5 upgrade (the upgrade also enables full-screen mode
on Lion). The old free version never had the cookie separation feature,
that was only added with the introduction of the paid enhanced version.

Another nice feature (this is available in the free version) is you can
whitelist what URLs that fluid app will use.  I lock my facebook app to
only facebook URLs. If I click a link from that takes me away from
Facebook, it opens in Safari, where I have no facebook cookies.

Finally, if you really want ensure complete separation (I'm not
convinced Fluid provides total separation, for example are  HTML5
Storage databases separated? If you have flash installed, are flash
cookies separated?) you can setup Lion in a virtual machine and use
Safari in that. Virtualbox is a free virtual machine app that can run Lion.

https://www.virtualbox.org/

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