Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just Give Us Your Information says SCRIBD - For Security

Another example of trading freedom, and privacy for security.

In another attempted blow to destroy any notion of privacy, and a twisted ironic sense users of have been receiving the following notice, spread throughout the entire website. E-Mail Message as of 12/5/11 11:48 AM EST

In a twisted, in your face type of humor the message asks users to provide the company with their e-mail addresses, followed by an ironic joke of a promise to not spam you. Most likely Scribd would simply sell off your information instead of spamming you, but that's hardly a concern.

What's even worse about this is that the user has no idea what their e-mail address is being used for. There is simply a send button, to whisk off your personal information, however there isn't a terms of use, or any type of disclaimer for that matter anywhere near the e-mail prompt.

 Additionally after uploading a document it asks you again for your e-mail, on a page with a URL called /"emailcapture" and there is not an immediately noticeable way to get off the page, tricking some into putting in their e-mail address. Simply going to the main Scribd page will fix this issue.

One threat that immediately comes to mind is the fact that Scribd allows you to upload private documents, which only you or those allowed to can see. By giving Scribd the e-mail addresses to match those documents, it clamps down on the ability for people to post private information alongside public information, because it simply takes one leak for that document, and associated e-mail are made public. What's worse is if it was used to combat political speech, and the e-mail address could essentially be black-listed by other websites.

This is all part of a push against privacy. Privacy is under constant attack from all angles, and from groups of perpetrators working independently, but ultimately leading to the same result. A police state where the only secrets are in the government, and everything you do is recorded.

Seemingly innocent prompt boxes like this are used to make people believe that simply handing over any of their personal information without serious consideration as to whom is going to see it, and what it will be used for.

There is a generation growing up in a technological age co-existing in the battle between globalism and freedom, which could result in entire groups of people willingly telling the government every detail of their live. After all, groups like Facebook, Google & YouTube, Twitter,  and now Scribd pushing attempting to gain more voluntarily received information.

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