Archive for September 2009

Google and Facebook share my personal information – very probably   3 comments

On the internet, like on the street, only share what you would with your granny.
This lessons from a case so simple it could be a lab experiment.
What happened:
  1. Few days ago, an acquaintance of mine joined facebook
  2. facebook has been suggesting this person as "friend" for me
  3. Until yesterday, this person had zero friends and zero activities on facebook
  4. To this day, information this person has posted on facebook is extremely limited: name, birthday, sex, email address –
    I know, because I invited him as friend, and accepting was their first facebook activity.
  5. Information I posted on facebook *almost* certainly excludes references to this person’s name, birthday, email address 

So, how did facebook find out we are acquainted?

Google and bing searches of our combined names and surnames yield a generic wikipedia list of Italian names and other links to name lists (petition signatories and the like).

This person and I did exchange email, so Facebook just might have tapped into our exchanges, or acquired mail tapping information. Quite unlikely, I believe.

On the other hand, there is a google group – private, non searchable – that we share with less than a dozen other people.

That google and facebook shared this information is at least a reasonable guess.

The even more plausible, more general lesson is: information that internet operators are legally allowed to share, beyond what each of us can realize or find through search engines, allows them to make valuable connections about our personal lives.


Posted September 20, 2009 by Gianluca Marcellino in Computer e Internet

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