Friday, September 11, 2009

If you Facebook . . .

IF YOU ARE ONE OF THE FACEBOOK FLOCK, this little item by Robert Lemos, on MIT's Technology Review site may be worthy of your attention. 

Now, researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario have developed a browser plug-in to help users keep their information private from prying eyes and from social-network providers as well. Urs Hengartner, an assistant professor of computer science, and his colleagues say the plug-in replaces sensitive information in a user's profile and news feed with meaningless text that can only be unscrambled by trusted friends or contacts. Dubbed FaceCloak, the tool assures its users that sensitive data stays private.

The University of Waterloo researchers attempt to hide which users are encrypting their data with FaceCloak by replacing the hidden data with arbitrary text taken from sources on the Internet. "Users who submit encrypted information stand out, both to Facebook and to other users who can see the profiles, and therefore might raise suspicion," Hengartner says. "By using fake information, we can avoid this problem."

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