Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Are you being watched?

Are you being watched?
According to cyber security and crime experts, though the Facebook management claimed that it had been “inadvertently” watching the Internet activity of its members even when they were logged out of their Facebook account, the social networking site has to prove its innocence. “Inadvertent or deliberate, sneaking into someone’s computer and looking into their browsing history is an offence under cyber crime laws,” points out Internet security expert M.H. Noble of Zoom Technologies.

The Additional Superintendent of Police (Cyber Crime), U. Rammohan, explains that if Facebook had intentionally downloaded its software on to the computers of its members with the intention of tracking their Internet activity, it has “committed a blunder”. The company can be booked under cyber laws. Rammohan adds that if an FB member lodges a complaint with accompanying evidence, the cyber crime police will investigate the case and if need be, alert Interpol. Many websites load cookies on to a user’s computer, but over a period of time these cookies automatically get deactivated or deleted when the browser is closed. However, there are certain cookies that keep a track of the user’s activity even after they have logged out of the site.
Facebook members have expressed anger over the portal “stealing” personal information. Says John Kandru, an MBA student of Badruka College, “This is unethical on Facebook’s part to intrude and monitor info when I have not authorised them to. Everyone’s privacy should be respected,” he adds.
After a blogger from Australia had lodged a complaint, the social networking site had admitted that their software automatically downloaded a script to the users’ computer when they logged in to Facebook. This script continuously sends browsing information back to the company, whether or not the user was logged in. “There seems to be no need for proxy surveying. I would not want all I do online to be watched. My credit card details and personal information might be stolen,” fears tennis coach D.R.C. Kiron.
According to Noble, installation of intrusion prevention systems on one’s computer will prevent others from invading one’s privacy. “Delete cookies manually, use a disk cleaner and log onto the Internet from a different browser to prevent cyber intrusion,” he suggests.

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