Warnings and Hoaxes

Be warned.. if you enter the United States with anything electronic, it's not private.

Go the Department of Homeland Security..

WTF? Talk about invasion-of-privacy. People carry all sorts of stuff on their Laptops.

C'mon. If someone wants to move documents without them being viewed by customers they'll simply put them on a server somewhere and leech them down via encrypted means afterward.

Instead, you're inconveniencing all those legitimate people carrying their laptops, PDAs and PEDs with them as part of their routine. Even your iPhone isn't safe.

Very sad.
I on the whole tend to support moves aimed at protecting the public (if you have nothing to hide....) but this goes too far. All sorts of personal privacy boundaries are likely to be crossed with this one.

If you have ever registered at ZMOnline - be warned. If you havn't already, you're going to be a spam target.

Being the owner of my domain name I've had the privilege of setting up context-sensitive email addresses. Specifically it means I can have one-address-per-website, for example.

Of late I have been receiving spam - unsolicited commercial email - destined for email addresses that have only ever had one purpose; the ZM website.

Years ago I listened to ZM most of the time, and I registered on their site to let me interact with their site, register for contests, etc etc. Nothing much ever came of it and after repeatedly becoming irritated with their tendency to play edits of popular tracks fractionally faster (and at a resultantly higher pitch) than otherwise normal, I migrated elsewhere.

So the addresses remained idle - until very recently. Now i'm getting junk such as this:


Dear Sir/Lady: We are the TaiPingYang company . We sell electronic product mainly =2Csuch as digital camera=2Cmobile phone =2CLCD TV=2C xbox=2C Laptops=2C DV=2C Mp4=2C GPS=2C and so on.All items come with 12month international warranty . If you want to buy something =2Cplease contact us freely 2Cour company would like to offer more discounts and best service for business cooperation with you/your company.Any other concern you are welcome to visit our website: www.[removed] please feel free to contact us at: MSN : service@[removed] E-mail: service@[removed]

ZM: Thus begins my boycott and public shaming. You guys either cocked up your security big time or you sold out to a spammer, either way, your name is now mud with me! (And I hope you'll agree.)

If you use .mac - beware crappy procedures!

How Apple compromised a user's account on a whim.

Thanks to Snooker for the headsup on the URL. WTF indeed. Scary scary stuff....

Checked my Hotmail account today, as I do every month or so, just to maintain it as a test account.
I don't use it for email purposes but inevitably, people ignore the 'please don't email me at this address' statement and send me stuff...

Anyway I got an invitation to 'Windows Live Spaces' from someone...

The email, with most of its active content blocked by Hotmail themselves.. gives me a 'yes' button and a 'no' link.

So I click 'no'.

It asks me if I want to download the content of the email. Initially I reject this and of course, nothing happens. So I figure what the hell and click yes.

It sends me off to a site where it starts asking me to make Windows Live profile configuration changes... !

I close that window and look at my Hotmail inbox...
"Welcome to Windows Live Spaces" email has appeared.

I didn't join Spaces. I clicked NO. How the hell do they figure I want to opt into their crapp excuse for a social networking environment tied to what was once known as MSN Messenger???

Eyeroll. Glad I keep my MSN and the rest of my live very seperate...

As noted in my blog well before now - sms.ac are a dodgy bunch. A far cry from their heyday as the 'free SMS service for everyone.'

So having ranted in the past, it seems its time for them to pop onto my radar yet again.

Have started receiving emails along the lines of this:


Date: 6 Mar 2008 19:54:25 -0800
From: Question It
To: [me]
Subject: fireambo1271472 has asked you a question on FanBox

fireambo1271472 asked you a question. View the question and answer it.

FanBox.com is the web-based desktop that instantly turns every computer into your computer. It includes over 10,000 web applications and games to
choose from, including the Question It application.

This email was sent by fireambo1271472 while using the Question It application on FanBox. Go here to learn more or stop receiving emails from
friends using Question It. FanBox: 255 G Street #723, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
[HFBeRgJoStpa4Vsev5c=&vet=48&dt=030608&mlid=887753336]

I dunno about you but 'instantly turning every computer into my computer' sounds awfully like 'theres a virus/trojan/worm/drone installed here, and you can leverage it like this.'.

Not only that, but i've received a message demanding that I join a website to view it. One I have no knowledge of, until I start digging thru the headers:

Received: from smtp164.sms.ac (smtp164.sms.ac [208.69.101.164])
by mx.blakjak.net (Postfix) with ESMTP id 83750500D5

Well.

Then I Google...

http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/04/fanbox-is-the-new-plaxo/
http://www.chefsuccess.com/f18/spam-alert-moronica8885551212-has-asked-you-question-fanbox-33519/

Gavin/XPD sent me this...

Have to confess I do buy bottled water from time to time, but nowhere near as often as some. What about you?

This might explain..

More classic Microsoft behavior, lets arbitrarily screw with your UI without warning you first...

I always thought that Chrisco were dodgy!. Here's proof, apparently.

I've always thought you were better off budgeting and saving the money yourself, if Christmas is an issue...

This guy is worth a look. Youtube Link..

Yeah theres arguments against - but in principle I endorse the guys statements. Through inaction we can't be sure to prevent disaster. Through positive actions, we can.

So therefore enough fluffing around. Real traction is required to ensure that the planet actually exists for our future generations enjoyment!

As the Herald points out, theres some Dodgyness afoot..

If we put aside the 'created-by-the-CIA' conspiracy for a minute, consider the Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as quoted by the Herald:

Facebook's own Terms of use state: "by posting Member Content to any part of the Web site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license to use, copy, perform, display, reformat, translate, excerpt and distribute such information and content and to prepare derivative works of, or incorpoate into other works, such information and content, and to grant and authorise sublicenses of the foregoing.

And in its equally interesting privacy policy: "Facebook may also collect information about you from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, instant messaging services, and other users of the Facebook service through the operation of the service (eg. photo tags) in order to provide you with more useful information and a more personalised experience. By using Facebook, you are consenting to have your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States."

Nice suits and ear pieces indeed. Clauses like this are creepy.

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