Facebook Says Very Little on Privacy of Messenger Rooms

Those policies, and the few specifics Facebook has given publicly about Messenger Rooms, leave unanswered important questions about how the company handles the metadata around video calls…

No surprises there, then.

The Facebook “data policy,” which the company spokesperson repeatedly pointed me to as the firm’s canonical document for questions of information collection, is mostly built from vastly generalized statements (“We collect information about how you use our Products”) punctuated by slightly narrowed examples (“such as the types of content you view or engage with”). The word “include” or “includes” appears 10 times in the data policy, “for example” 19 times, and “such as” 30 times.

The leopard never changes its spots…

Changed our business email hosting provider over the weekend. A fairly straightforward process other than changing the MX records. Used the live chat support to find out what they need to be changed to. It took nearly an hour for them to do it.

Maybe there was a genuine reason for why it took so long but anyway. Got it sorted eventually. And the new system is a lot easier to manage.

Been getting into using Drafts a lot more of late. Scripting is beyond me at the moment but I am making a lot of basic actions to automate stuff I do.

Like drafting a post for this blog. One action emails the draft to WordPress, saves a copy to Dropbox and opens Safari on my WordPress login so that I can open the post and do any final edits before publishing.

Think this will be one subscription app that really earns its keep.

Naomi Klein, writing about how big tech plans to profit from the pandemic, acknowledges that:

technology is most certainly a key part of how we must protect public health in the coming months and years.

However, she goes on to ask these vital questions about our relationship with tech:

..will that technology be subject to the disciplines of democracy and public oversight, or will it be rolled out in state-of-exception frenzy, without asking critical questions that will shape our lives for decades to come? Questions such as these, for instance: if we are indeed seeing how critical digital connectivity is in times of crisis, should these networks, and our data, really be in the hands of private players such as Google, Amazon and Apple? If public funds are paying for so much of it, should the public also own and control it? If the internet is essential for so much in our lives, as it clearly is, should it be treated as a nonprofit public utility?

I and a friend were recently trying out Signal as a secure cross-platform messaging app, something to use for group chats where not everyone is using iMessage. I had heard good things about it and this was largely born out in our trial. And yet…

Given that it is privacy conscious people who likely to be drawn to it, why does Signal insist on notifying other users who have you in their contacts list that you have joined and vice versa?

From their help page Does Signal send my number to my contacts?

Your phone now knows which of your contacts is a Signal user and notifies you if your contact just started using Signal.

While I can appreciate the security built into Signal, this does seem to be something of a misstep in terms of inspiring confidence.

And from the same page;

If someone knows how to send you an SMS, we want them to see that they can send you a Signal message instead.

Surely I, as the end user, should be given that choice? I can turn off notifications when my contacts join Signal but as far as I can see, I cannot stop others being notified about me.

My friend is very privacy conscious and this feature was a step too far for them. For me, it is probably not a deal breaker when push comes to shove, but as a matter of principal it seems strange to not give the user more options and control in this regard. Ho hum.