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Willing Victims

© Ed Stein

Why in the world do we spend billions of dollars spying on people? How much do we spend on the CIA, or on spy satellites?

All you have to do is set up a social network and people will tell complete strangers everything about their lives, including photos (who needs spy cameras?). Heck, they will tell the whole world things they would never tell their parents (or conversely their children).

Who knew that we could have completely destroyed Al Qaeda by simply paying some kid to create a social network for jihadists? Not to mention that all the time they wasted posting messages on the social network would be time they wouldn’t be able to spend killing infidels or fighting the great satan.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    Imagine the horror, I felt when I saw pictures of my grandchildren on Facebook, complete with information on where they and their parents live.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 5:23 am | Permalink
  2. Patrick wrote:

    I know you are making a funny about this. But to answer your question: it’s the military-industrial complex; it’s a self-replicating, self-perpetuating monster that will bring this country to its knees…any moment now….

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  3. Duckman wrote:

    I enjoy laughing at people who are on facebook and completely blind to the fact that they give facebook ownership of everything they put on facebook

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  4. Michael wrote:

    Duckman, it’s a little more complicated than that. Facebook’s tracking technologies go beyond just what you post on They track what you do on other sites, as well. Most people just don’t realize this.

    For example, this is supposedly fixed, but Facebook had a cookie called datr that was set when you visited any Facebook-affiliated site. So when you go to, there’s the social plugin that shows you what your friends are reading…datr would get set. Go to and read a story. There’s the ubiquitous Facebook “like” button…datr would get set (even if you don’t click the button). This cookie was set to never expire, and it was set even if you were not logged into Facebook and have never joined the network. So the surveillance goes far beyond Facebook users, because it uniquely identifies anyone who visits any Facebook-affiliated site.

    The good news is that Facebook claims to have fixed the problem ( The bad news is that Facebook has “fixed” the problem before. Facebook’s modus operandus is to disable controversial technologies whenever there is a media outcry, then re-enable the technology (or something similar) a few months later with no announcement. Anyone remember Beacon? datr is pretty much the same thing.

    In short, Facebook has an extensive history of tracking much more than what you post on the site. Getting you to put data on their site is just an excuse to make the tracking of your other online activities easier and more profitable.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
  5. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    Careful Patrick – we’re watching you….

    Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
  6. Duckman wrote:

    @Michael: I’m aware of that and everyone I talk to seems to be aware and just uncaring. What I care about is that Facebook’s Terms of Service says that if you upload your own: pictures, music, videos, etc, they own that material, even if you take it down.

    Friday, February 10, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink
  7. Dan wrote:

    @Duckman, they remain quite fond of those photos, even if you ‘delete’ them.

    Don’t worry, they’ll fix that any moment now. Three years and counting…

    BTW, the scary thing is that Google is recently joining in the fun.

    Friday, February 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink