Kashmir Hill's posts - Chinese uPOST

How Facebook Schemed Against Its Users How Facebook Schemed Against Its Users

Last year, I was trying to solve a mystery. Facebook’s “People You May Know” tool was outing sex workers’ real identities to their clients, and vice versa, and I was trying to figure out how. A sex worker using the pseudonym Leila told me she had gone to great lengths to hide her identity from clients by using an…

Facebook Was Fully Aware That Tracking Who People Call and Text Is Creepy But Did It Anyway Facebook Was Fully Aware That Tracking Who People Call and Text Is Creepy But Did It Anyway

Back in 2015, Facebook had a pickle of a problem. It was time to update the Android version of the Facebook app, and two different groups within Facebook were at odds over what the data grab should be.

Be Warned: Customer Service Agents Can See What You're Typing in Real Time Be Warned: Customer Service Agents Can See What You're Typing in Real Time

Next time you’re chatting with a customer service agent online, be warned that the person on the other side of your conversation might see what you’re typing in real time. A reader sent us the following transcript from a conversation he had with a mattress company after the agent responded to a message he hadn’t sent…

Very Few Police Departments Have Rules for Undercover Cops on Facebook Very Few Police Departments Have Rules for Undercover Cops on Facebook

This summer, we asked over 50 police departments to tell us if they have any rules for police officers who use fake accounts on Facebook to friend people of interest and monitor what they post. If our sample is indicative of national trends, very few police departments have policies for going undercover on social…

The Wildly Unregulated Practice of Undercover Cops Friending People on Facebook

Terrance Everett has been on the wrong side of the law for most of his adult life. When he was 18, he had to register as a sex offender for having sex with a 15-year-old, because she was under the age of consent. In his 20s, he was, he says, “hanging with the wrong people doing the wrong things,” resulting in charges…

'Do Not Track,' the Privacy Tool Used by Millions of People, Doesn't Do Anything 'Do Not Track,' the Privacy Tool Used by Millions of People, Doesn't Do Anything

When you go into the privacy settings on your browser, there’s a little option there to turn on the “Do Not Track” function, which will send an invisible request on your behalf to all the websites you visit telling them not to track you. A reasonable person might think that enabling it will stop a porn site from…

Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information

Last week, I ran an ad on Facebook that was targeted at a computer science professor named Alan Mislove. Mislove studies how privacy works on social networks and had a theory that Facebook is letting advertisers reach users with contact information collected in surprising ways. I was helping him test the theory by…

Dianne Feinstein Is in Trouble Dianne Feinstein Is in Trouble

At 85, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein is the country’s oldest senator. To the disappointment of some on the left, she decided not to retire this year, saying she wants to keep the Senate seat she has held since 1992. With 26 years of wins under her belt, most people expected the election to be more a formality…

How a Woman Disappears from the History Books How a Woman Disappears from the History Books

The New York Times Magazine recently published a lengthy cover story on “The Unlikely Activists Who Took On Silicon Valley—And Won;” it’s about the battle to pass a privacy law in the country’s most populous state. It’s great and definitely worth reading, but it forgot something: the woman who helped win the battle.

'People You May Know:' A Controversial Facebook Feature's 10-Year History 'People You May Know:' A Controversial Facebook Feature's 10-Year History

In May 2008, Facebook announced what initially seemed like a fun, whimsical addition to its platform: People You May Know.

Facebook Wanted Us to Kill This Investigative Tool Facebook Wanted Us to Kill This Investigative Tool

Last year, we launched an investigation into how Facebook’s People You May Know tool makes its creepily accurate recommendations. By November, we had it mostly figured out: Facebook has nearly limitless access to all the phone numbers, email addresses, home addresses, and social media handles most people on Earth have…

When a Stranger Decides to Destroy Your Life When a Stranger Decides to Destroy Your Life

Monika Glennon has lived in Huntsville, Alabama, for the last 12 years. Other than a strong Polish accent, she fits a certain stereotype of the All-American life. She’s blonde. Her husband is a veteran Marine. Her two children, a boy and a girl, joined the military as adults. She sells houses—she’s a real estate agent…

These Academics Spent the Last Year Testing Whether Your Phone Is Secretly Listening to You These Academics Spent the Last Year Testing Whether Your Phone Is Secretly Listening to You

It’s the smartphone conspiracy theory that just won’t go away: Many, many people are convinced that their phones are listening to their conversations to target them with ads. Vice recently fueled the paranoia with an article that declared “Your phone is listening and it’s not paranoia,” a conclusion the author reached…

California Has 48 Hours to Pass This Privacy Bill or Else California Has 48 Hours to Pass This Privacy Bill or Else

Recent headlines have suggested that California lawmakers are considering a bill that would give Californians “unprecedented control over their data.” This is true but that is not the whole story.

Pray for the Souls of the People Sucked Into This Dating Site Hell Pray for the Souls of the People Sucked Into This Dating Site Hell

Earlier this year, the media got very excited about Trump.dating, a site for the pro-Donald set that promised to “make dating great again.” Much of the media coverage was critical: The site only allowed users to conduct heterosexual searches; the male-half of the couple originally featured on the homepage had a child…

How to Plan a Wedding in Three Weeks How to Plan a Wedding in Three Weeks

If you have spent your whole life dreaming of getting married while wearing an ivory princess gown paired with a lacy cathedral bridal veil, surrounded by 500 of your nearest and dearest friends, this is not the blog for you. But if you like the idea of actually having a good time on your wedding day and in the period…

The Other Cambridge Personality Test Has Its Own Database With Millions of Facebook Profiles The Other Cambridge Personality Test Has Its Own Database With Millions of Facebook Profiles

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock on Mars, you’ve likely heard about a little scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. Cambridge Analytica got its hands on millions of people’s Facebook likes in 2014 by getting an academic, Aleksander Kogan, to design an app with a personality test that hoovered up…

How Conservative Activists Catfished Twitter

Mo Norai has worked in Silicon Valley for a decade. He’s done stints at Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Apple, but only as a contract worker, meaning he has missed out on the tech giants’ storied perks, benefits and job security. So when he was approached last April by a recruiter from a company called Tech Jobs Box…

How a $90 Vet Bill Can Ruin Someone's Life How a $90 Vet Bill Can Ruin Someone's Life

Over the past five years, Mondrea Hasty has had officers come to his house multiple times to arrest him, had his mugshot taken, and been handcuffed during a routine traffic stop. His 10-year-old daughter now cries when she sees a person in a police uniform, fearing they could be coming for her father.

The House That Spied on Me The House That Spied on Me

In December, I converted my one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco into a “smart home.” I connected as many of my appliances and belongings as I could to the internet: an Amazon Echo, my lights, my coffee maker, my baby monitor, my kid’s toys, my vacuum, my TV, my toothbrush, a photo frame, a sex toy, and even my bed.

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