My colleague Kashmir Hill congratulated Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg earlier today on his increasingly savvy approach to talking about privacy issues in public.
It should be interesting to see him try to talk his way out of this one. The new "Groups" feature that Facebook rolled out yesterday allows users to slice and dice their friends into publicly-visible cliques, recognizing that users don't always want to share something with their entire friend list or just a single recipient.
But Sophos security researcher Free strip chat rooms Wisniewski points in his blog to a gaping problem in that feature: Any user can add any of their friends to one of those groups without the friend's approval, generating a status update showing that the friend has been added to that group. Zuckerberg's addition to the group is broadcast to all of his friends, as shown in the image above.
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Mahalo chief executive Jason Calacanis had complained in an open letter to Zuckerberg earlier Thursday that he was added to the same boy-loving group, and offered a bit of free privacy consultation to Facebook. Though some have questioned Calacanis's story, Facebook's own FAQ confirms that anyone can be buzzfeed dating app to mildura gogo bar girls group without his or her consent: "Can I prevent people from adding me to a new group?
Sophos' Wisniewski argues that the prank could have serious consequences. In fairness, however, the problem of finding yourself subscribed to a group you'd rather not associate with isn't new. As my colleague Kashmir points out, we all occasionally finds ourselves unwillingly subscribed to an listserv that broadcasts its membership to every other member.
Unlikehowever, Facebook Groups are visible to friends who aren't members of that group. I've reached out to Facebook to comment on this and will update if I hear from Facebook executives.
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Facebook should be given credit for avoiding the auto-population feature that Google Buzz used to generate friend lists from users' activities when it launched last February. As Kashmir wrotethe company could have used strip web camera technique to automatically segment users into Facebook Groups, but would likely have incurred the same privacy wrath that Google faced when its Google Buzz trick exposed who users were most often chatting with without their express consent.
But Facebook Groups' tactic of letting users create lists manually creates its own potentials for embarassment. Expect Zuckerberg to tweak the feature to fix this de flaw, or find himself enrolled in many more clubs that are less than seemly for a CEO. Do you see Facebook Adult search sites as another privacy flub for Facebook?
Or is Zuckerberg making progress in overcoming Facebook's privacy criticisms? Let me know your thoughts in comments below.
I'm a technology, privacy, and information security reporter and most recently the author of the book This Machine Kills Secretsa chronicle of the history and future…. I'm a technology, privacy, and information security reporter and most recently the author of the book This Machine Kills Secretsa chronicle of the history and future of information leaks, from the gentlemans club chatswood Pentagon Papers to WikiLeaks and beyond.
I've covered the hacker beat for Forbes sincewith frequent detours into digital miscellania like switches, servers, supercomputers, search, e-books, online censorship, robots, and China. My favorite stories are the sex clubs solihull or where non-fiction resembles science fiction. My favorite sources usually have the word "research" in their titles.
Since I ed Forbes, this job has taken me from an autonomous car race in the California desert all the way to Beijing, where I wrote the first English-language cover story village dating site the Chinese search billionaire Robin Li for Forbes Asia.
Black hats, white hats, cyborgs, cyberspies, idiot savants and even CEOs are welcome to me at agreenberg at forbes. My PGP public maldives dating site can be found here. This is a BETA experience. You may opt-out by clicking here.
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Andy Greenberg Former Staff. Covering the worlds of data security, privacy and hacker culture.
Image by Getty Images North America via daylife. Andy Greenberg. I'm a technology, privacy, and information security reporter dating site photography most recently the author of the book This Machine Kills Secretsa chronicle of the history and future….