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Warning: Social Networks Leaking Your Info

Will social networks be the downfall of humanity? Probably not, but they're apparently leaking your personal information to third-party advertising and tracking companies. This enables those parties to associate the browsing habits to a specific person, meaning they'll know where consumers are going and what they're checking out... just like the government.

The revelation was made over a month ago (PDF), but was recently revisited by Macworld and mentioned in a blog post by civil liberties Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). "There are some interesting technical details in how the social networking sites leak this data," said EFF's Peter Eckersley. "In some cases, the leakage may be unintentional, but in others, there is clever and surreptitious anti-privacy engineering at work."

There's anti-privacy engineering at work on Facebook? On MySpace? Talk like that gives a new meaning to the word "conspiracy." But according to the study, eleven out of twelve social networks are leaking personal information to data aggregators by way of tiny images or invisible JavaScripts embedded in the Web pages. Eckersley said on his blog that he caught ten different tracking domains embedded in CareerBuilder. The scary aspect is that each of these tracking companies can follow consumers over multiple different websites, following them as they surf the Web.

Eckersley goes on to mention the study conducted by AT&T Labs and WPI in his blog. "The main theme of the paper is that when you log in to a social networking site, the social network includes advertising and tracking code in such a way that the 3rd party can see which account on the social network is yours," he said. "They can then just go to your profile page, record its contents, and add them to their file."

Scary stuff indeed.

  • burnley14
    I'd love to say I'm surprised. . . .
    Reply
  • doc70
    Duh....
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    IMA LET YOU GUYS FINISH BUT THIS IS THE NEWEST OLD NEWS OF ALL TIME!
    Reply
  • Montezuma
    NoScript is your friend.
    Reply
  • ukcal
    I think some people are a little too paranoid. Suppose some random company across the globe somewhere DOES find out your age, D.O.B and where you live. It doesn't mean all of a sudden you are, i don't know, being stalked, likely to be murdered? Email addresses and telephone numbers i agree should not get out, but i don't see what harm can come from finding out details such as your date of birth.
    Just my thought on the matter.
    Reply
  • JasonAkkerman
    Obvious article is obvious.
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    The last few "news" articles were Obvious. Slow day eh?... WTH?!?!? shouldn't you be at IDF???
    Reply
  • tell us something new...same with webmails yahoo,gmail,hotmail,etc,etc...even this page... LOL
    Reply
  • AMDnoob
    yeah i've been aware of this for awhile now. I've noticed how all the ads on my Facebook are related to the groups i've joined, people I've become fans of, things I like etc.
    Reply
  • xophaser
    thanks to careerbuilder I get more spam and junk email more then ever before.
    Reply