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Your data, privacy, surveillance and Social Media

Hua Guofang

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Sure thing.  I'll go ahead and go over some terms so that everyone can follow along.


DHCP - Dynamic Host Control Protocol.  This is what assigns an IP address to your computer when you connect to a wifi network or plug in an ethernet cable.  This is how the router (that assigns the IP to you via DHCP) knows where to send reply traffic to your outbound requests.  One of the jobs of the DHCP server/router is to assign you a set of DNS Resolvers along with an IP address.


DNS & DNS Resolver - Domain Name Service.  DNS is what takes yahoo.com and looks up what it's public IP address is so it knows where to send your request for it's front page when you type in yahoo.com.


ISP - Internet Service Provider.  This is who you pay for your internet connection.  They usually provide you a router in your home and set up your wifi network for you.


HTTP/HTTPS - Hyper Text Transport Protocol (and Secure) - HTTP is how a website displays a webpage in a way that your browser makes readable to you.  This is, traditionally, not encrypted.  Meaning, anyone else snooping on the traffic going over the network could see exactly what you're looking at by just passively collecting the HTTP packets that are traveling back and forth.  Think of this like a camera that can identify the driver of every car in your neighborhood.  HTTPS encrypts this traffic and makes it to where the client and the server can only encrypt/decrypt traffic as it is sent and received between those two points.  This is like everyone in the neighborhood having limo tint and a license plate written in an alien language on their car.


Here's where the problem comes in.  If you use the basic/default settings the ISP sets up for you then you will VERY likely be using their DNS resolvers.  These cascade down so their network assigns IP addresses to the routers that are installed in your home (your cable modem, your fiber internet connection, your DSL modem).  This is your public IP address.  Behind that you have your wifi network.  These are private addresses that are not "routable by the internet".  This means your computer's IP is likely 192.168.0.xxx.  Or something very close to that.  Your ISP gives your cable modem/dsl modem a set of DNS resolvers to use so that it can look up things for you when it receives requests from within your internal network at home.


If you leave your router at default settings it will use their DNS resolver.  This means when you type in hotchickswithbigdicks.com.... they can see that you went there, they resolved the IP address for you, and told you where hotchickswithbigdicks.com resides on the internet.  From there, the traffic turns into "HTTPS" (most of the time).  HTTPS encrypts the communications and nobody can really snoop on it from there.  The issue is, that even though they cannot see what you're looking at, they can see every single domain you resolve into an IP address in the process of viewing any website.  This means that when you go to CNN.com and it loads 45 javascripts from ad networks that are all on their own separate domains.... your ISP resolves 45 different domains for you and knows that your computer, or some computer behind the router installed in your house went to those places or requested assets from those places.


All you have to do to stop them from snooping is change what DNS resolvers your DHCP server/router assigns to your private network over wifi or ethernet connection.  This is done by logging into your router and adjusting the settings.  I can't go into exact detail on how to do that here because there are many different models with different user interfaces and ways of making those changes.  It's super easy to look up for the most part if you know the brand/model of your router/cable modem/dsl modem. - their website here explains it, it's CloudFlare's DNS resolver so it's for the privacy conscious netizen - - same except not CloudFlare - https://www.quad9.net/


Essentially those two resolvers don't keep logs of what you've looked up.



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  • 9 months later...
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It runs parallel with something Facebook/Instagram is accused of:




In July, users noticed that a green FaceTime symbol was showing up when they scrolled through their Instagram feed, per the Independent. The symbol appears on iPhones when the camera is on.


In November, users accused Facebook of accessing iPhone cameras through the Facebook app. A Facebook spokesperson told CNN that the bug was "inadvertently introduced" and promised to fix the issue.



that article is from 9/18/20. I’m not having any luck finding something more recent. 

those pics are screen grabs Twitter users shared showing that Twitter seems to be doing the same thing. Those photos are supposed to be thumbnails for the ads/posts they are scrolling by, but instead it’s showing their “selfie cam” on and reflecting them. 

I am completely ignorant to the backside of things with apps like this. I do think that the three largest social media companies having the same bug is a bit too convenient of a coincidence. With your experience in computer science do you see this being a bug? Or something intentional for data mining? @Dirty_habiT

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16 hours ago, KILZ FILLZ said:

I do think that the three largest social media companies having the same bug is a bit too convenient of a coincidence. With your experience in computer science do you see this being a bug? Or something intentional for data mining? @Dirty_habiT


I can answer your question maybe with my own personal experience and with some theories I have.  I will start with a few questions with answers that will get our thinking about this going.....


How do you know if your camera is on?  (it has an indicator/green light/icon on screen)

What turns on the indicator? (software)

Who writes the software?  (Apple/Samsung/Google/etc)

Who writes "any" software you would have on your phone? (someone else that isn't "you")

Can you trust this 3rd party to only behave in a way that benefits you, the "consumer"? (maybe, maybe not)


I find it awfully convenient to have a bug like this in a large, widely consumed product, like instagram or snapchat or w/e it was that had the bug.  The reason I think this is because I work for a very small software company and we find WAY LESS serious bugs than this on a daily basis.  It is VERY VERY VERY rare that something makes it into our production clusters that we didn't expect/fix prior to release to production.  For FB a release to production means updating the FB app on everyone's phones w/ the new code.  This is how they give you features and make bug fixes.


I think it is very likely that software has the ability (and we've actually seen in the past) to turn on and use ANY of your phone's sensors at any time without doing any other thing.  There is a big if here.  That "if" is that if they have the camera's "on button" power running through that green led on your phone, AND they have failure of that led indicated on the phone if it ever fails then I would think that you could trust the green light on the phone/computer.


I'm hesitant to believe this is the case, and am fairly certain that the way the green led works or the on screen icon indicator that your camera is on/microphone is recording, etc.... is that the software has to use some library that "requires" the led to turn on when the camera turns on.  However, as I'm trying to make obvious, I don't think these two things HAVE to happen together. 


I haven't dug into the docs on modern phone cameras and the software that controls them.  This is very fishy though and I don't think it's a simple bug.  These companies have been suspected of collecting all sorts of other data on you that would make you cringe if it was laid bare what they're doing.


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I have to agree with @Mercer but also props to the OP for this terrifying intel on AI and people acting like sheep. The world is being transformed into an Orwellian nightmare by unscrupulous governments who are vying for complete surveillance and control. I know this is cliche and has been said many times to the point of jaded reaction. However I, and many others Im noticing, are tired of people gaslighting this issue as a conspiracy theory, when it's happening before our eyes. And the scumbags in charge have been extremely careful to have us believe they are not the problem. It makes me sick seeing "graffiti writers" paint murals of dead judges, people who incarcerate us, because they have been so blinded by either pro or anti trump sentiment that they cannot see the government for what it really is.

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DHCP, DNS, and HTTPS -- all things controlled by the overlords. If they decide you shouldn't be allowed on the internet, they can and will revoke your domains, servers, DNS, and you will be forced to host your site on the dark web along with drug dealers and pedos. Again, back to government control/slavery.

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1 hour ago, sp said:

Does anyone have any experience with "indy" phone OSes (other than iphone and android)

Ive used BB10 OS (blackberry) and Cyanogen OS (One+)


BB10 was really a joy. The only downside was extremely limited app support. Instead of the Google play store or the Apple App Store, you were limited to an Amazon App Store - it didn’t have much available. BUT- if you are ducking around with blackberry you are likely for production focused than entertainment focused. I had the BB Passport model and really wish I had held on to it, but the resale value was just too good to pass up. I think I made a profit off it after about 1yr use. Blackberry fans are loyal as fuck and if they want a model they will pay. 

Cyanogen was basically a jail broken Android OS to me. Extreme customization (even the boot-up screen). Absolutely zero bloatware. But when I was using it, it was pretty unstable. My phone would crash a couple times each week doing routine tasks. I had the One+1, first model offered by One+, the hardware was amazing. 

I was very close to buying the Amazon Fire phone (3D display) a few years back but never pulled the trigger. If I remember right if you purchased the phone you got one free year of Amazon prime so the math worked out pretty well. I just wasn’t very interested after my experience with BB10 and the Amazon App Store. The fire phone had an Amazon OS that looked like it was separate from Android instead of a modded Android OS. You can probably find one of these phones on eBay for the cheap. 

out of the three I’d suggest rolling with the bb passport. The security features on that thing are something I’ve never seen before. Even something as basic as the password keeper. 

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  • 8 months later...

Here's a good example of a piece of shit (government) using customer loyalty data to target people for something even I'd overlook. Basically, they bought customer loyalty data from a grocery store. Took the data on who bought pet food, and cross referenced it with who owned a dog license, so they could in turn target pet owners that didn't pay the government for a pet license license.



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