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back to article EFF fights Facebook bid to outlaw one-stop social apps

A civil liberties watchdog has challenged Facebook's legal claims that an unauthorized third-party site that helps users login automatically violates criminal laws. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed Monday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said Facebook users have a legal right to choose how they access their accounts. It …

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Coat

Third party Facebook login?

The only third party Facebook login service I ever tried was at ReadWriteWeb, and that was rubbish. I couldn't work out how to log in at all.

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/facebook_wants_to_be_your_one_true_login.php

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Joke

Do I as say, not as I do.....

"We have sued Power to prevent Power - a third party with unknown security safeguards and data use practices"

Surely this is an oxymoron of Facebook, if there ever was one.

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Anonymous Coward

Facebook is evil

To see why, go to http://bit.ly/cL8tLJ)

If you wish to delete your facebook account, do not use their 'disable' function, as it does not delete your account, or even hide it effectively.

Instead, go to http://bit.ly/aXZwWc

Alternatively, you might like to investigate Green Safe at

http://apps.facebook.com/thegreensafe/index.php

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FAIL

Something tells me...

Seems like suing world+dog won't get Facebook very far in the big picture. I think their assumed success has gone to their head. They are nothing compared to the likes of Microsoft, Apple, and Google; yet Zuckerberg acts like he owns the Internet and all the information people share using it. Something tells me that the Facebook bubble is going to pop soon and all that they've built is going to come crashing down once people begin migrating off of Facebook to a new site, just as many did when they left Friendster for MySpace, then MySpace for Facebook some years ago.

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Hypocrisy at its finest

You just have to love Facebook claiming that they are worried about Power's privacy and security. If you sign up with Power ventures, you know the service you're subscribing to. OTOH, when you set up a Facebook account, you have to look at Dark Reading and several other tech columns on a regular basis to find out when Facebook has changed their privacy practices AGAIN and what to do about it to protect your information.

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No doubt

Totally agree. Pot and kettle.

They actually changed their privacy policy back in November, the last two large rollouts (facebook connect and the changes to the info page) are just the software side, and a sign of more to come. If you look at the strategy closely, it appears that Facebook fully intends to use the posts and content to fine tune a better search engine than Google has. Not a bad idea, considering they get more visitors per day than Google as of a week ago.

For them to crow about privacy and security with their current abusive behavior and the rabble of 3rd party applications is rich. There needs to be a major change in the way these companies are permitted to do things, and for one "Opt In" should be the default.

The argument that they are providing a service still does not make users subject to any whim and change of policy, nor does it give them rights over users' data any more than it would permit forced, uncompensated labor simply because that is how they decide to write their terms of service.

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Big Brother

Facehook

IF Facebook are so woried about their clientsmembers security WHY do all their preferances updates all revert your choices to let the WORLD +DOG see them I have had to reset them at least 3 times since I signed on just six months ago.

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Silver badge
Pirate

Honey wagons?

If you made a few dozen accounts filled mostly with bull shit, would it be possible to devalue Facebook's position? I'm guessing that by throwing enough bad apples into the bananas the buyers of the data wouldn't be able to get enough reliable information to be able to make effective marketing campaigns. It could have a catchy name like operation spambook. Arrr...

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Badgers

Honey wagons?

Interesting concept. I fear that a trivially set up fake account would be easy enough to spot algorithmically. A more in-depth effort could be harder to spot, but would be almost as time-consuming to maintain as a real Facebook account. I can't imagine even hardcore privacy advocates putting in the effort required. I wonder if it would be possible to create the content algorithmically though? It would be like the whole spam vs. spam-filter war all over again, although this time the spammers would be the goodies.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Stop

that may be, but

it doesn't make what Facebook are doing necessarily legal

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Silver badge

Re:To be fair

To be fair, facebook provide a shite service paid for by advertising.

There, fixed it.

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Thumb Down

"just stealing their content"

Whose content? It's not Facebook's.

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Well

While FBs privacy practices are laughable I think they may have a point. When you sign up to FB you accept that THEY will have access to your data and you will be able to control others access to that data not some other non aligned company. While I may be happy for my data to go to Power when I sign up to their service I am also sending my friends data (who probably havn't signed up) to Power when they scrape data from my account. Not sure of the legalities in this situation so it could be that FB are doing some arse covering here in case someone complains.

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Silver badge
Stop

Just say no

... to all web 2.0 social media diarrhoea..

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TOS

Hmmm so "Facebook's terms of service bar users from accessing their information through "automatic means"

Ok then what do they call the "Keep me logged in Button" then? surely that's an automatic means of logging in as is the ability of most browsers to remember your UN & PW.

Oh and then of course there's the iphone apps, the android apps........

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FAIL

Their terms - which users agree to

2.You will not collect users' content or information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without our permission.

Notice those last three words - if an App has their permission it's OK.

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FAIL

Safety

"The brief comes in a lawsuit Facebook filed against Power Ventures, which offers a service that aggregates friends, messages and other data from a variety of social networking sites. "

... which sounds *really* safe. Now you only have to guess one password and you've accessed every social networking site the person is registered to.

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Thumb Up

Certainly

Convenient for everyone involved. One ring to rule them all etc.

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WTF?

Ha ha haaa

"We have sued Power to prevent Power - a third party with unknown security safeguards and data use practices... "

I'll finish that off....

"...whereas with us, you know our security is shit and we don't gove a toss about deleting old accounts and retaining data forever."

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WTF?

@Nathan Hobbs

Whose content now? FB don't create the content surely, just the portal that displays the FB Users content, however much FB want to claim ownership?

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glass houses

These are the people who will 'borrow' your email password so that they can hoover contacts out of your address book...

Umpteen mobile phone apps aggregate data from FB, and a dozen other sites, by cacheing your credentials at a third-party server. Does FB want to shut them all down?

There are plenty of security concerns here - but as others have noted, it can only be in Zuckerberg's mind that FB is good and all the others are bad.

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Gold badge
Happy

Is it just me

Who keeps thinking of it as "Fapbook"?

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Anonymous Coward

Yes

Yes it is. Firmly so. Now go and have a cold shower and a run around the house.

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Gold badge
Happy

@grumpy

That was a *very* emphatic denial. Me think you doth protest too much.

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WTF?

Er, what has Apple, the iPhone and the iPad have to do with this story?

"It's worth noting that Facebook's attempts to stop users from accessing their content through alternate means isn't much different than Apple deciding what apps can run on its iPhones and iPads."

Top quality bollocks!

Facebook is scared you won't see their ads if you get updates in another UI, but it is quite a stretch, even if it does raise your Google listing, to wheel out the 'bash Apple for vetting apps' and try to link the two. DO Reg hacks have orders to link every story to Apple, the iPhone and the iPad, because it is getting somewhat boring and predictable.

By the way, one could argue that having your browser remember your login details is a type of 'Automation' that is in violation of Facebook's EULA

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Bronze badge
Boffin

@dave 93

Quite agree - this is nothing like the Apple app store situation. Apple's app store is an invitation-only situation, whereas Facebook is primarily publically available. As long as 'Power' are not abusing the HTTP protocol then they cannot be doing anything wrong - all they are doing is acting as a fancy proxy. Copyright violation might have been a valid avenue, but not hacking.

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FAIL

Illegal my arse

$fb_result=$fb->fql_query("SELECT uid, name FROM user....."); blah blah blah

They provide a complete, supported api to do this kind of shit. You can even get a non-expiring token that gives your app permanent, login-free access to a facebook account.

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Paris Hilton

Irony

Hmm.... I wonder why isn't Facebook so concerned about this problem when they offer to log into your email account "for" you, pilfer through whatever they find there, and grab out all your addresses?

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Boffin

Don't worry folks!

Facebook only has your best interest at heart. You can trust them, they're not like the other social scumbags, er, web sites.

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Bronze badge

Does a web browser count as "automated means"?

So they get to say which browser I can use?

And if I'm a user (which I'm not), isn't it MY CONTENT? Not Facebook's?

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Facebook has ads???

I only just realised while reading this that there are ads on farcebook, I've only ever opened it with adblock running so never even realised.

Just goes to show how good adblock does its job

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Stop

Pledge to leave Facebook

I've put a group together and we're all leaving facebook if they don't drop this lawsuit. I have got to draw the line somewhere and I cannot be associated with a company like Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=123205857691804

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