Harvard student loses Facebook internship after pointing out privacy flaws

From Boston.com:

Three months ago, Harvard student Aran Khanna was preparing to start a coveted internship at Facebook when he launched a browser application from his dorm room that angered the social media behemoth.

Khanna exposed a frightening lack of security. Facebook messages contain geolocation data. Facebook Messenger has been out since 2011 and they only now told users and provided a way to turn it off. This is an appalling lack of concern for users’ privacy and security.

His firing seems petty and vindictive. But Khanna has a good perspective. He accepted a different internship and said he learned a lot from the Facebook experience. I think we all did.

You don’t own that car

A modern car only runs because of the software. GM has copyright on the software. They contend that the owner of the car only has a license to make use of the software. If they or some they hire (like an independent mechanic) tinkers with the software it is breaking the law. This doesn’t look good. The courts agree with GM, it will raise the cost of cars and reduce choice. Read more here.

Senator Says Carmakers Have No Clue About Hacking

I am quite leery about the Internet of Things. I was leery when I first heard of GM’s OnStar. Sure it was cool that it could send you assistance with the touch of a button. And it is really awesome that it can turn the engine off if someone has stolen your car. (Especially, if it is right in front of the police who were vectored to the same location.) However, these cool features mean that GM knows every where you go and someone can shut off your engine. This is tremendous invasion of your privacy and autonomy.

I read today an article on Popular Mechanics that shows automakers do not know what they are doing and probably do not care. Be afraid.