Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Technolyser Series – Making Facebook Less Intrusive & Knowing Your Rights Part 2

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This is the second post on Facebook in our series Technolyser. (Previous post here) Last time we had just stopped short of discussing Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. So we are gonna begin from where we left. Without much ado let’s start with Clause 2(1) which under the heading ‘Sharing Your Content and Information’ states that
subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

facebook privacy

Not much can be done here. Easy fix is that you change the privacy of any post (Hereinafter post includes comment/photo/video) you don’t want to be available to the world at large to ‘only me’ or ‘friends only’.
Clause 2(2) states that even after you delete your account Facebook may retain some of your post for a reasonable period of time in their backup.

Muddy waters begin from Clause 2(4) which gives Facebook the permission to use your name, profile picture, information etc.  in connection with commercial. So liking that Porn Star’s Page does not seem the best idea if you don’t want something like ‘John Doe and 17 other friends like XXX. Click to like this page’ to pop in your friends’/relatives’/siblings’ feed.

Things get even more interesting from Clause 2(5) onwards where Facebook can unilaterally change its terms and will notify them on its Facebook Site Governance page instead of individually notifying you like Google and your continued use of Facebook for 7 days after change in terms will amount to your acceptance to the new terms. So do like this page so that you are notified every time Facebook changes its policy not that you care.

Clause 2(6) provides for a Forum Selection Clause and states that all disputes are subject to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California or a state court located in San Mateo County and laws of State of California will govern the Statement. You need not worry much about this as Indian Courts are not much fan of such provisions and one could always invoke cases like Modi Entertainment Network v. W.S.G. Cricket PTE. Ltd. [(2003) 4 SCC 341] where it was held that “in an exceptional case for good and sufficient reasons, with a view to prevent injustice in circumstances such as which permit a contracting party to be relieved of the burden of the contract.” Not being able to go to US to file a lawsuit seems a sufficient reason enough apart from the fact that it takes away the jurisdiction of Indian courts something I doubt Indian judges would appreciate.

Clause 2(7) takes your consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Nothing much you could do in this regard and anyway it doesn’t matter much with NSA spying on you through Heartbleed (bug in OpenSSL encryption) since several years anyway.

To tell you more, Facebook is also fighting a legal battle in India, K.N. Govindacharya v. Union of India ,W.P. (C) NO.  3672/2012, Delhi High Court. The case has helped in getting grievance officer which you could contact here. To see how legal research can be done, please refer to our earlier post.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Technolyser Series – Making Facebook Less Intrusive & Knowing Your Rights Part 1

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Hi, are you on Facebook? Me too! Well not much of a coincidence that, right? Nowadays everybody uses social networking sites be it be Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus. Virtual storage is being preferred over physical storage thanks to free alternative such as Dropbox/ Sky Drive/Google Drive and TV has been replaced by Youtube /Vimeo/ Dailymotion.  I could go on but the point I am trying to make is that technology has become a part of our life and almost every time we use this technology we often unknowingly part with some of our essential rights such as PRIVACY. 

Well Technolyser is our new series where we will analyse the contract i.e. EULA (End User License Agreement) of popular websites and software and tell you that how the terms affect you.
Also comes free advice to see how you can get better of it!

facebook privacy

So we should begin with Facebook’s Data Use Policy.  Now in the ‘Other websites and applications’ section under the ‘About social plugins’ section Facebook states
We receive data when you visit a site with a social plugin. We keep this data for a maximum of 90 days. After that, we remove your name and any other personally identifying information from the data, or combine it with other people's data in a way that it is no longer associated with you.

Whaat? Every site you visit which has a like/share/recommend/Facebook connect (login) etc. button is recorded by Facebook. I mean this is totally ridiculous! To some extent what I do on Facebook is Facebook’s business but snooping on my browsing activities even when I am not using Facebook is not only unethical but totally out of the line. The fix is either to surf internet only when you have logged out yourself of Facebook and cleared all cookies or install Disconnect Plugin from here (Chrome) or here (Firefox). All you need to do is install the plugin and Disconnect takes care of the rest blocking any request by Facebook/Google etc. to track your activities.

Next comes you being responsible for sharing your information with third party apps. Pretty obvious in my opinion.  My advice to you is open the Apps Settings and remove any unneeded or suspicious app. Also remove any junk apps like ‘Who is your Crush’ etc. most of these apps are just there for stealing your data. And it’s time to grow up maybe, you can’t realistically be told about how many years you have left, so please apps like how much are you going to live are complete trash.

 Also you have the option on this page to remove your profile from being indexed by Search Engines, do that if you don’t want your profile to come in search result over Google or Bing.

Next in line is Information we receive and how it is used where under the heading ‘Other information we receive about you’ Facebook states that
Sometimes we get data from our affiliates or our advertising partners, customers and other third parties that help us (or them) deliver ads, understand online activity, and generally make Facebook better. For example, an advertiser may tell us information about you (like how you responded to an ad on Facebook or on another site) in order to measure the effectiveness of - and improve the quality of - ads.

This basically means so every time you interact with an ad you will be targeted even more. Notice how when you visit an e-commerce site say Flipkart for buying an iPad, subsequent to that you come across ads selling iPad at a cheaper price. This is the same thing. The fix is to not interact with these ads. Even better would be to block these distracting ads altogether. (Learn to block these ads here).

Something interesting I came across was on Facebook Pages Terms which prohibits page administrator from inaccurately tagging content or encouraging users to inaccurately tag content (II D – Tagging). So next time a moron tags you to an idiotic image saying ‘friends are forever’ apart from removing the tag do remember to report the page if it asks people to tag people unnecessarily.

Next comes Cookies, pixels and other similar technologies where Facebook informs us that cookies amongst other things are used to deliver, understand and improve advertising. Not of some real help that, right?  Use some good Cookie Manager and remove cookies from time to time. Get Cookie manager for Chrome and Firefox.

So that’s all for now in the next Post I will analyse the Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.  Meanwhile let me know if you found this post helpful and if you want more of such stuff.

Read our second post on the series here.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Protect Your PC for free

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Prevention is better than cure! And trust me, you don’t want to lose everything on your computer

Doesn’t matter if you are a lawyer or a budding lawyer. Does not even matter if you are lawyer at all! Need to protect those important documents? Bought an expensive software (Security Suite) to protect your PC. Is it sufficient? Unfortunately no!  

You may well be paying 1000 quids or more for a security system which might not be even sufficient for complete protection of your PC. Read on to know how you could build your own security suite, complete with all invincible security features for free.

Antivirus – There are many antivirus in the market nowadays, Bitdefender and Kaspersky have the highest detection rate but I don’t think you don’t need them until and unless you are running a bank. (I am not kidding). Even if you are a hotshot lawyer free antivirus are more than what you need. AVG, Avast, Panda, and Avira are some of the options. In my opinion Avira >> AVG >> Avast (Haven’t tried Panda)

Firewall – Though Windows Firewall is pretty good but if you really need something solid then nothing comes around Comodo Firewall.  Tinywall and Zonealarm are other options but Comodo is the best.

Malware – Malware are nasty pieces of code whose only purpose is to make lives miserable. Worthy contenders to be installed on your computers are Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool, Spybot Search & Destroy, HijackThis. However nothing even comes close to Malwarebytes.

Anti Spam –Use Mail Washer Free. It’s free and is intuitive. It works with Outlook, Outlook Express, Incredimail, Thunderbird, Windows Mail, GMail, Hotmail and every other email program. Free version support only one email address.

Web Protection / Parental ControlK9 Web Protection  could be used to block web sites in more than 70 categories, including pornography, gambling, drugs, violence/hate/racism, malware/spyware, phishing.

Once you have all of the above mentioned and you don’t have the world after you, nothing should harm you. In fact, this combination is better than a paid alternative as we are using the best of everything. All you need to do is regularly update your security system as well as operating system (I am assuming Windows). 


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Alternate Search Engine

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Can sword do the work of a needle?

In an era when Google is used for making a search on the internet, how will you respond when we tell you that there are some other specialised search engine which perform better than Google?

Without further ado let’s roll!

1) Buy Books OnlineIndia Book Store is a specialised search engine which searches for a book on the leading online stores and show you it in nicely sorted tiles. Apart from regular search it also support search by ISBN number. It also includes an offer page featuring available deals, a blog for bookworms, frequent giveaways and rating of different online stores.

indian book store search engine

Update: Chrome & Firefox Extension – Install this extension to compare price of different products across multiple shopping websites.

working extension on flipkart

2) Buy Cellphone Online – Look no further than 91mobiles it is the Indian GSMArena with the ability to find the cheapest price available for a particular cell phone. Their smartphone buying guide is quite interactive and useful. While providing the cheapest price it also consider the running offer on the site. Quite useful I say!

3) Free Movies on YouTubeZero Dollar Movies is an interesting concept. It lets you search free movies on YouTube using parameter as year and language (Currently 4: English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu).

4) Offline Search – Text your query to 55444 and you will get the result. Innoz is more than a mere search engine it also performs translation, chatbot, English tutor and much more. JustDial is another option for business queries; call them at 08888888888.

5) Wolfram Alpha – We don’t know how to best describe Wolfram Alpha.  It’s a computational search engine which means that when you feed in a query it tries to infer it using artificial intelligence and give you an appropriate information unlike Google which will give you link to webpages which may have that information. I strongly urge you to visit it here to know more about this amazing piece of technolawgy (Did I spell it wrong my bad) (Self-promotion).

6) Anonymous Search – Don’t want the search engine to remember your search history. Use DuckDuckGo and search anonymously. In several aspects it is also different from Google for instance try searching ‘simpsons characters’ (without quotes) on it.

7) Deals – Simple and straightforward CouponDunia gets you a deal on anything and everything you could buy online.

8) Indian Cases -  Indiankanoon,  Res Ipsa Loquitur .

9) TorrentsTorrentz and Isohunt

10) Movies & TV ShowsIMDB & Rotten Tomatoes, enough said!

11) Apparels – For the supermodel in you FashionNet does more than a good job.

12) Recipes – For the love of food! Yummly!!!

13) Home Appliances and Everything ElseJunglee, CompareIndia, MySmartPrice, are some of the search engine which index Indian online retailers.

14) Computer Parts – Going for an upgrade check out this custom search engine created by an Erodov forum member, ‘chesss’. It covers most of the major online vendors such as SMC International, ITDepot etc.

15) Research – Cause going back to Google (Scholar) is inevitable. (Learn to Google better)

High chances you are using Chrome, are you?