Facebook Reads Your And Government Officials'/Politicians' Email
By Duane Thresher, Ph.D. October 11, 2018
Continuing my investigation of massive invasions of privacy by Facebook (see my previous three articles in Apscitu Expert IT News), I discovered that Facebook reads the emails of you and millions of other Facebook users, including government officials/politicians. This may be where many of the unexplained leaks in government and politics are coming from.
Recently, while I was easily creating another fake Facebook account, I quickly came to yet another scary Facebook demand:
Step 1The "Please enter a valid username and password" (in red!) was because I tried to skip this step by deleting the email address Facebook automatically entered for me (yes, I have fake Gmail accounts too; both Google and Facebook encourage you to have multiple accounts, despite what they say) and clicking Next. Didn't work, no Facebook account without compromising your email account.
Find your friends
Are your friends already on Facebook?
Many of your friends may already be here. Searching your email account is the fastest way to find your friends on Facebook.
Please enter a valid username and password
Facebook won't store your password.
Facebook stores your contact list for you so that we can help you reach more people and connect friends.
Facebook tries to reassure/trick you by saying they "won't store your password" and only "stores your contact list for you so that we can help you reach more people and connect friends".
But the fact is, if you give Facebook, or anybody else, your email address and email account password they can read all your email, no ifs, ands, or buts.
And it doesn't matter if Facebook doesn't store your password. They can download all your email with it immediately, as can the NSA or hackers, and store the email. Further, in Facebook there is a Find Friends button that does exactly the same thing every time you click it, thus refreshing Facebook's supply of your email.
Given Facebook's demonstrated unethical/criminal behavior they almost certainly do read your email. And thus so do the NSA (thus FBI, etc.) and hackers (Cambridge Analytica included).
I emphasized "all" your email because these days most people have IMAP email accounts so leave all their email on their mail server, like Google Gmail, as compared to POP3 email accounts where all email is usually downloaded to your computer and deleted at the mail server.
This IMAP preference was strongly enforced by Google, who makes using POP3 very difficult even though it's much simpler to support than IMAP. Google wants all your email always at their server so they can scan it, supposedly just by computer so they can target advertising, but given Google's demonstrated unethical/criminal behavior they almost certainly do read your email. And thus so do the NSA (thus FBI, etc.), and hackers. (As an IT expert I would strongly recommend against using Google Gmail, using an email service that fully supports POP3, and encrypting your emails.)
It may seem unbelievable that such a huge security hole has not been pointed out before, with millions of people having Facebook accounts, but most are IT incompetent, don't think about the implications, and just want to quickly click their way through to use Facebook. This is particularly true for IT journalists. To be good, they can't just be English majors (do you want fries with that?) and then sit and skim Facebook press releases or play with their Facebook accounts and then write stories. They actually have to be IT competent and think.
This huge Facebook security hole may explain where many of the mysterious leaks in government and politics are coming from. I've already pointed out that Congress will not take action against Facebook because they can't live without the free Facebook campaign advertising (to be fair, members of Congress have to campaign constantly, which is expensive). Most members of Congress, and their staffers, have Facebook accounts and almost certainly agreed to have Facebook access their email. After all, it was members of Congress who hired the IT incompetent criminal Imran Awan for IT support.
Similarly, many government officials, e.g. the White House, and politicians, e.g. the Democratic National Committee, have Facebook accounts.
Given the NSA's well-documented access to Facebook user data, and that NSA provides this access to the FBI, the FBI has access to White House emails. FISA approval for this access is a rubber stamp joke. The NSA/FBI is allowed "incidental collection" of data on those who are connected to the target of the FISA warrant. But the whole point of Facebook is finding such connections and the concept of "six degrees of separation" is that anyone is connected to anyone else by just a few people. It's trivial for the NSA/FBI to find someone easy to get a FISA warrant for so they can justify reading the emails of someone they are really interested in but couldn't possibly get a FISA warrant for. (In my fake Facebook account, Facebook kept suggesting "friends" who were only connected to me by having my burner phone number.)
Given Facebook's poor security, the Russians etc. could very well read the email of both the White House and the Democratic National Committee. (Keep in mind that hackers rarely go after high value target systems, like the White House, directly since they will be protected better. Instead, hackers go after less well protected systems, like Facebook, connected to the high value target and then "pivot" their way up to the high value target.) Similarly, so could Cambridge Analytica etc., given Facebook's willingness to sell user data.
Finally, a word about Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and founder. Zuckerberg became rich when he was just a kid. He went from being taken care of by daddy to being taken care of by a corporation. He has never had to deal with the harsh realities of making a living like normal people in the real world. He will thus always be a kid, a kid in college who still thinks it's fun and OK to hack into other people's accounts and read their emails (Facebook headquarters is at 1 Hacker Way). He's like all those spoiled rich kids who were never told no: the Hollywood child star who grew up to be a felon or the child king who thinks nothing of executing thousands on a whim. Watching Congress groveling before Zuckerberg for some free campaign advertising, especially since Zuckerberg might actually be subverting them, is watching the surrender of freedom and democracy to Big Brother.