Social Enterprise

Social networking sites: What information will they release about you?

Michael Kassner takes a closer look at the kinds of information released by social networking sites about members if requested by law enforcement. Concerned? Or is it just the price of online participation?

It's time to touch a sensitive subject. Under what conditions will Internet sites where people socialize--like Twitter, Facebook, even TechRepublic -- release your personal information? And, will they tell you when they do?

I belong to such sites. So, recent events surrounding Twitter's staff and their being ordered to hand over account details of Twitter members associated with WikiLeaks hit close to home. Especially, after reading this Wall Street Journal blog, where author Paul Sonne mentions:

"WikiLeaks said on its Twitter feed Friday, that it assumes Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. received secret U.S. government orders related to WikiLeaks as well. Facebook didn't comment. Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment."

We can take that comment a couple of different ways. Was Twitter specifically singled out to release information? Or, was Twitter the only one to publicize getting a court order?

I can't answer those questions. Nor can I dispense any insight on the WikiLeak controversy. What I can do, is provide information as to what social-media outlets like Twitter and Facebook intend on doing if asked to release information about you.

In our control

Events like WikiLeaks show the importance of understanding EULAs and privacy statements, especially those published by social-media sites. Believing that, I have tried to read them, but stopped in frustration. I am not an attorney. So there is a huge gap between my reading and comprehending what is written.

That's bothersome. I would like to understand the details about what and under what conditions sites like Facebook and Twitter will turn over information to law enforcement officials.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is interested in this as well. And guess what? They have lots of attorneys who do understand.

EFF gets involved

The EFF's involvement started when they filed a Freedom of Information Act along with the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic of UC, Berkeley:

"EFF, working with the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Samuelson Clinic), filed suit on December 1, 2009 against a half-dozen government agencies for refusing to disclose their policies for using social networking sites for investigations, data-collection, and surveillance."

In addition, the two parties:

"Asked for copies of the guides the (social-networking) sites themselves send out to law enforcement explaining how agents can obtain information about a site's users and what kinds of information are available."

Thirteen companies responded to the EFF inquiry. And, I applaud their willingness to help. EFF does as well:

"The information we got back enabled us to make an unprecedented comparison of these critical documents, as most of the information was not available publicly before now.

I will let that sink in for a moment. The EFF further mentions:

We received copies of guides from 13 companies, including Facebook, MySpace, AOL, eBay, Ning, Tagged, Craigslist, and others, and for some of the companies we received several versions of the guide."

EFF simplifies

The EFF along with the Samuelson Clinic un-legalized the obtained documents and created an easy-to-use spreadsheet that lists how each company intends to respond to requests for information. The spreadsheet is also available as a PDF file.

As for Twitter's guidelines, the EFF had this to say:

"Although we didn't receive a copy of Twitter's law enforcement guide, Twitter publishes some relevant information on its site, so we have included that in our spreadsheet for comparison."

Law enforcement release forms

Something else that may be of interest, are the release forms participating respondents require law enforcement agencies to fill out before obtaining information. The following list is the kind of information that can be requested from Facebook:

Basic Subscriber Information:
  • User Identification Number
  • E-mail address
  • Date and Time Stamp of account creation date displayed in Coordinated Universal Time
  • Most Recent Logins (generally captures the last 2-3 days of logs prior to processing the request) in Coordinated Universal Time
  • Registered Mobile Number
Expanded Subscriber Content:
  • Profile Contact Information
  • Mini-Feed
  • Status Update History
  • Shares
  • Notes
  • Wall Postings
  • Friend Listing, with Friends Facebook IDs
  • Groups Listing, with Facebook Group IDs
  • Future and Past Events
  • Video Listings, with filename
User Photos: May include photos uploaded by the user and photos uploaded by other users that have the requested user tagged in them. Group Information: Will include the BSI of the group creator/administrator in XML format and the current status of the group. Private Messages: If retained. IP Logs: Are very limited and frequently incomplete, but when available are provided.

That is a significant amount of information. Were you aware of this?

Final thoughts

That is a lot to digest. And why, more than any previous entreaty of mine, I would be grateful to learn what you think, either as a member of a social-networking site or not.

I also want to mention something important to me. It is not my intention to pass judgment on any of the concerned parties, be they public or private. My aim is your awareness.

About

Information is my field...Writing is my passion...Coupling the two is my mission.

35 comments
klaasvanbe
klaasvanbe

I'm not so scared of sharing info on those sites, not even publish things with my real name. Some years I was registered in Facebook with a screen name I use in other sites. Later I changed to my given name. People apparently knowing me only as the former (or spammers?) tried to contact me (2 notifications - clicking resulted in a warning of my ISP - it was in Italian, all the rest was in English) , so I call Facebook now Phishbook. What scares me is that they share your phone number? I wonder why. Klaas aka ClubFavolosa

Professor8
Professor8

The problem is not just the information they release. It's the information they obtain and combine... and twist. where "they" is kkkredit kkkard firms, kkkredit agencies, "social networking sites", e-commerce outfits, government, schools, universities...

Spamosborn
Spamosborn

There's an alternative take on the Facebook privacy fear debate posted by a UK journalist on The Guardian newspaper's website Comment Is Free section today (unable to post the URL here, author Benjamin Cohen - 1st Feb) The article is basically saying that we're merely returning to our "gossiping" roots pre technology and intercontinental travel, when we all chatted amongst ourselves about John Smith down the road's new wife because we were so closely tied with our immediate peer group (the difference being through isolation rather than mass connection) it was only natural to do so... Whilst I can see his argument, I do take the view that he's actually missing a key point: that our previous generations wouldn't necessarily have sold our personal info to private companies or willingly divulged it to the authorities without letting us know (even at least after the fact)... Another article in the same section has what I consider to be a fair (if very blunt) view on what this means about the sanctity of private conversation (again can't post URL author is Charlie Brooker - Monday 31st Jan) in our current times. It refers to some interesting "scandals" over the last couple of months in the UK: A popular newspaper (with links to the Prime Minister) is being hauled through the courts at the moment for sanctioning phone tapping of a long list of celebrities and politicians to get secrets to sell papers and; two primetime sports show pundits have been sacked for sexist comments they made, however, the comments were made off air, but still recorded and sold to a newspaper to print. I think the article asks a really pertinent question about our reliance on digital media as "proof" - Are we living in a world where we can no longer say something and later "take it back" because it exists on permanent digital record somewhere? We can apply the same questioning when we look at the way a lot of unwary people use services like Facebook, and then see the way the services are used by law enforcement agencies or prospective employers. Lets face it, people rightly or wrongly often use these types of sites as public conversation mediums, sometimes forgetting they're public, and talk about or post very private things. For example - there are photos of me on Facebook, and I don't even have an account! Someone has (innocently, I might add) posted them up there without consulting me or others in the photos. If I'm ever consulted about those photos (hypothetically you understand , I'm pretty sure I've done nothing that would warrant me being concerned about any photographic evidence!) or even other photos I may not even be aware of, what position am I in to deny "the evidence". Was the photographer a warranted law enforcement officer? Does the chain of evidence stack up demonstrating the photo hasn't been modified? Unlikely. But whilst such evidence would likely be inadmissible in a court, a hell of a lot of damage could potentially be done to a person or bunch of people through merely being investigated on the basis of it, or perhaps not getting that well needed job because of it. If I am ever confronted on this post in the future, I could try to deny I wrote it, but there'd be a reasonable amount of evidence at least showing it was posted under my name / account. And, granted, Ive spent a while putting this together, but many, many people, clearly just write what they think, as they think it. What if I tried to deny I held a point of view five minutes after posting? I'd have a hard job because all you see are the words, you have no real perception of perhaps a different intended context through my facial expressions and so on... Is my tongue in my cheek right now? I honestly think it's really scary stuff when law enforcement, other authorities and private companies use internet activity as a matter of course in their investigations. Granted there is sometimes a real need, but often I'm suspicious that this need is being abused through an unfortunate perpetuation of the fear that's been rammed down our throats over recent years - the fear that people are generally bad and we should be suspicious of them. I like to think the opposite, and that's why I'm not interested in gossiping about what people are doing right now, that's their own business. Perhaps you can see why I don't have a Facebook page or subscribe to Twitter?!

aeiyor
aeiyor

I believe the internet is both a great invention to interconnect people and also a potential hazard for privacy loss. I don't believe there would really be any issue if common rights and considerations were honored. But such cases of fear and its mitigation can manipulate people into choices and selections that limit our overall growth and development. Can you imagine a world prior to 9/11 and prior to virus's and trojans and identity theft? It appears with just the intentional violation of a right, that it triggers a host of chain reactions that would undo common held rights and freedoms for the "security" and "safety" of our lives. I was sent a piece of email from a friend talking about how life was like 30-60 years ago. What people did, What happened and what evolved from it. Very interesting. In my analogy of the Matrix... many unknowingly participate and take on things within their lives without the understanding of how it influences and impacts others or themselves. And some really could care less. There seems to be a medium of knowledge whereby not knowing anything can be blissful granted its limitations. The more you know, the more responsibility and awareness awakens you to action (usually). Yet there are some that the more you know and understand, the less you want to do. A kind of system paralysis. Those who pass the certain critical knowledge barrier go to the next phase and provoke changes in themselves and others. What does this all have to do with Social Networking Sites and Privacy? Well I contend that we never had anything private as long as we participate and are citizens within any government and establishment. Consider the following... Your born.. (Name/Birth Certificate - recorded either by Church, Hospital or Government Facility)... You grow up (Educational System K-12, College or Trade School - performance/grades/diploma - at some point you're also designated a Social Security Card or Social # reference for your part in the location you exist within the government sector) - You may establish a passport that provisions you to travel beyond borders. You may also become involved in clubs, organizations, groups -- how does the club/organization and group keep track of you - roster, lists, information. You might get some awards - again information referenced by some organization to provide the award. You get a job (resume, experience, education, activities, goals, tasks, skillsets, etc.. recorded and provided to the company to which you apply) - this was at one time just a document but now its an electronic medium that could be interspersed. Banking information needed for depositing of checks. I am encapsulating this as there's tremendous amounts of information for each of these stages in life. You establish a 401K or retirement plan - more information involving your SS, banking, contact, etc. You participate in a credit card system that then has transactions of purchases you make and places you go. You establish credit so you can make big-ticket-item purchases - Car, House, Appliances, Vacation Destination, etc.. Processes involving car purchase and house purchase - more paperwork with more information also in electronic media. Point is that we don't really have any privacy if someone or agency wanted to perform investigation for whatever reason. SO these social mediums only provide other venue's and perhaps visuals but regardless the information is out there. You can scrap credit card bills, paper trails but how did the paper get printed from where and whom? Again it wouldn't be a concern if everyone and agencies respected privacy and had common sense about how you handle situation of data and information. So I make use of the Social sites to make contact with friends - renew aquaintences and rekindle friendships and get in contact with new people and establish new relations. One other thing I wanted to share... privacy entails the secured status of information that is personal to someone.... In my consideration illustration above, is anything ever securely safe? And what exactly is that information, it's all made up stuff. A Name is made up given at birth to represent you and your relation to family, address is a designation put forward to reference location of existence and living, bank accounts are series of numbers used to keep track of money, social security #'s are reference numbers for the government by which we receive benefits and liabilities (taxes). Passport is an ID with a visual representation of you to reference your travel within and without borders of continents. Credit Card #'s are used as a means for dealing with debt - payment/owed and records of consistent reliable transactions. A lot of it matters to us because of the importance we place in these things. The greater the importance the greater the threat of disengaged privacy holds. Again interesting article and great information everyone and Michael.

bboyd
bboyd

try out this search: Distributed Data Mining Credit Card Fraud Detection Now imagine the unmitigated access required by these techniques. Extend that into unlimited access to customer view histories, search histories and other supposedly private data. Social networking just ties it together with a nice set of pictures and social activities. I for one will gladly give up a bit of convenience for the security of some private or even partial anonymous action. Your articles hopefully spur fellow IT workers to follow the same path.

bboyd
bboyd

Data mining software made for such purchases last i looked into it a few years back. Appeared to have interesting visualization features in it to estimate true money flow on money laundering operations as an example. You'll have to take my word for BS though, can't remember more details since it wasn't my real research at the time. Try looking up AGI's software for simulating space launches :P.

tracy.walters
tracy.walters

I don't use social networking other than LinkedIn, and I only post business related info that is available elsewhere. I don't intend to make it easy for government, law enforcement or criminals to get my information. That being said, I realize that our society is quickly losing any vestige of privacy, and ten to twenty years from now, we're going to be living in a very different world. Look at recent history in China, and what is happening in Egypt as we speak. It's likely that if terrorists attack the US again, they'll use some social networking site to communicate, and I suspect Homeland Security will have full access to any records they want at that point. I just don't have to make it easy for anyone to get at what I consider my private life....but I can see the end of privacy coming.

jasonemmg
jasonemmg

I do have a Facebook account but I DO NOT POST PICTURES OF MYSELF OR MY FAMILY!!!! Especially my twin children!! Now being a parent and working with computers most of my life I see what goes on on-line,etc... I am past the point in my life where I need inform the world of what I'm doing every 5 minutes and to know the same of all my friends I'm an adult, have a job and family now! The account is used to mostly keep in touch with a few old friends I've gotten back in touch with the past few years via e-mail. When asked to post pictures I have no problem saying " I do not trust Facebook, etc.." and ask for his/her personal e-mail account to send the pictures to.

Derek Schauland
Derek Schauland

Sure there is information being turned over, likely by all sites providing any type of service/membership. Some do it at court order, some do it very willingly. Other than required information, it is really on the user to decide what to provide. This was a great post and a real eye opener. Sure this goes on, but it isn't something I really thought about. Did you find out what TechRepublic/CBS Interactive's policy is on this information?

Craig_B
Craig_B

One of my concerns is that the policies may change without you being aware of them. Day one you sign up with a site. You read the policies and have a fair understanding of them. Day 365 the policies change or the default settings change, etc. Yes they posted the changes in some obscure post somewhere. You are still a member and think everything is operating under the same policies as when you joined, until you find out that everyone can see everything in your profile for example.

Snak
Snak

My social networking site cannot tell anyone much about you. We do not know your telephone numbers, your postal address, nor even your sex. None of this info is relevant to the use of our site and so we don't ask for it. SoundAwesome.com is a social networking site for musicians and music-lovers. We could tell people your email address, when you signed up, when you were last online, any comments you've made on other peoples' profiles, what forum posts you've made. That's about it really. Not without a good case though. Or a court order :)

JamesRL
JamesRL

I don't publish my phone number or cell phone number on my facebook page, though anyone who wants can probably find them. The most important thing is to check the privacy settings periodically. Only friends can see my hometown, only friends of friends can see the bare profile at all. I don't say anything truly private in facebook. Anything there, even in chat, is stuff I'd see the next day in the newspaper without wincing. Same with TR.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Not sure if all this is nice to know, or not. Got me thinking twice.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

All information that is gathered can and usually leads to other information sources. Do you have private messages? Those can be supplied as well.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

It is scary, how heuristics and combining databases work together to accurately guess PII.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Your viewpoint is similar to that of Bruce Schneier. Both of you are concerned about using fear as a debate tactic. Thank you for an insightful post.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Though they pull my fingernails without anaesthetic, I will say nothing of what you impart. Good job. [i]Damned[/i] good job.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I have written about where researchers are now able to fairly accurately predict your social security number just from tapping into a few data bases.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Where the AGI software came from, but it looks neat. Thanks for mentioning it.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

To make an informed decision. As for TR's policy, I am not privy to that.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

If you notice on the spreadsheet, there are three columns for Facebook. That is because their policy has changed each of the past three years.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Don't forget them. it is also an entry point to find out your access information. That could be used for further investigation.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

But, did you look at all the information that can be obtained about you. It is not just your friends that see messages. The other thing of interest is whether you should be told that your information is being given to an agency. There was a gag order on Twitter preventing them from telling the affected members.

aeiyor
aeiyor

I was contemplating after giving time to writing my reply whether or not to send it because it hovered slightly on off-topic but it has relations to what you posted. I figured to go ahead and post it as you're welcome to delete it if its not in sync. ===================== Good Day all.. You're welcome Michael. Thanks for added comments, response and article/blog sharing (privacy/security/secrecy). I checked it out and it added more thoughts to this. Granted this stuff is the makings of conspiracy theories and so forth... But you do get to thinking of its possibilities and potential implimentation within our society. Someone, maybe you, had mentioned a situation involving the legal system of a court case. Whereby, an attorney may say something which has pertinent value but is out of line. The judge mentions to strike it out and informs the jurors to disregard that information. However, once said, is already in the minds of those involved. The nature of media, broadcast, communication, information -- is such that when orchestrated properly has incredible effects on engaging peoples behavior, thoughts and emotions. So knowing something (knowledge) provides an avenue of action for any person. Now what if that knowledge is incorrect or not 100% in integrity. The person then is acting based on the information that is provided to them. We often see the effects of this in comedy situations. But it also has been portrayed by Hollywood in serious venues. If news, media, information is provided to people in mass quantities with the understanding of manipulating them into action -- how trustable is that news, media or information and how reputable is the source? The problem faced within the greater society is the lack of the ability to think/reason and apply understanding and wisdom to given situations and circumstances. Most of society has pretty much become engrossed within the framework of being computers --- GIGO complex... Garbage in, Garbage Out. If you've ever read Sun Tzu's "Ancient Art of War" - often prescribed reading of military organizations. There are many principles held within that work strategically to manipulate, coerce and effectively disengage enemies or opponents. Now it was in many respects designed as a means to understand military processes and engaging combat with an opponent. Yet, those principles can be applied within psychological frameworks to gain the upper hand or uphold control. Do we see the slight outlines of a Wizard from behind the curtain knowing that "1984" has come upon us? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ancient_Art_of_War By the way, the knowledge of how something works and how it is used upon yourself or others does indeed grant you the freedom to be and function beyond the parameters of that system. If you've never seen the movie "The Network" - I'd recommend watching it sometime. The original focus was TV/Radio/Newspapers and what it could do or provide. Which has now expanded to the online/network. Quite interesting in witnessing the very things it mentioned back in the mid-late 70's come to fruition on various levels within our current society. In some ways its a kind of catch-22 if you think about what its saying and the way it is being presented. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_(film) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074958/ Here's another illustration I want to share... This is a systematic illustration based on built knowledge. I am wondering if many people know or understand the influence of watching TV is on the brain/mind? A combination of lights and sound are picked up and interpretted by the brain and processed accordingly. A mass of information within a short period of time. Ever hear of the process of "Brain Entrainment?" The principle is essentially any practice that alters brainwave frequencies to correspond to a brain state. TV and movie theaters are perfect mediums for such influences to transpire. How many people can and often do fall asleep in front of the TV? How often does some piece of news or event cause various emotional responses? How often does the information provided engage thought or consideration or contemplation? Now if you could publish/broadcast information to a whole groups or society -- within mediums that would reach them on different levels.... what impact could you or would you have? http://www.eruptingmind.com/effects-of-tv-on-brain/ Incidentally, TV is a good medium but all other forms of information broadcast are subject when non-altruistic folks control or manipulate the broadcasting medium - paper, books, radio, etc. Enter The Internet mid to late 80's (I know its history but the explosion transpired for the general populace in the late 80's). Most people enter without a full understanding of what is presented to them and what it all means or offers. A good example of misinformation spread is SPAM - broadcast offers or information about free sites becoming pay if you don't do or send something -- now the urban legends of the internet. People intend a lot of things when they share information, usually its to communicate and relate to others. That information can be true, an opinion, speculation, heresay or contemplative ideas. Now we have new issues that play this out in perfect measure, consider online or cyber bullying. The effect it has by posting opinions and views within the social medium and that it can deliteriously affect another person's life. Alternatively, there have been positive reports of how people who were out of reach due to physical health and location and were ecouraged (by social friends online) on to make changes in their lives for the better. The medium of the internet is just a tool, how we use it is dependent on us -- like fire. This again brings up the point regarding utilization of fear to control. In any event, the point in this is social sites and self-broadcasted information has a level of integrity completely dependent on opinions, perspectives and views. The way we take it and what we do with that information is totally dependent on where we stand based on our understanding, maturity, consideration, state of mind, comprehension and education. If any agency wants to use this information, they have the freedom to do so (this once again falls to my earlier commentary about common sense and honorability in doing appropriate things). People also have this freedom to make use of the information as they want or need, (again reference my commentary on common sense and honorability). However, the real freedom comes from the combination of knowledge, wisdom and education to address whatever comes up. Last point for me to bring up... The fundamental and nature involving Social control. I'd post a link or two but it has the potential of opening Pandora's box. So I'll leave it for the viewing/reading audience to Google at their whim or not. Again, I like your article and thank you for the feedback. =====================

JamesRL
JamesRL

I'm not excited by the prospect of the government being able to access it, but at least in Canada, the government has to get a warrant for such information. And the Privacy Commissioner in Canada has opened a second investigation into Facebook - forcing them to change the software. What I object to about facebook is the defaults, that many users don't know how available their data is. That was the recommendation of the commissioner last year and it hasn't changed yet.

aeiyor
aeiyor

Good Day All. Thank you for the note, Michael. I was recently going over the news about events in the world and of particular note was the Egyptian government flipping off the internet. The effect it had was quite explosive and most definitely opposite of what the government wanted. (They wanted to suppress the growing protests and crowds, all they did was add gasoline to the fire). In coordination with the article you've written, -- the underlying premise is being tracked and recorded as individuals. And the ramifications involving this information being used against us for whatever reasons. This eventually would evolve into suppression utilizing the technology of RFID chips being implanted in all of us to try and control and keep the order. This particular technology is quite effective within law enforcement by having these implanted in credit cards, purchased items, passports. A special scanner would be present and be able to detect such items and the information contained therein. There's already talk about having these present within children to prevent kidnapping and being able to track kids globally using GPS should they get lost or be kidnapped. Going further.. Your credit cards could be put on the chips and placed on you so you would never lose them. Your passport information could also be placed on those chips and implanted so you wouldn't ever have to worry about passport applications or renewal or losing your passport. Notice the underlying fear tactics used to provide the "clear" choice of using something that has even more usage then just the mere GPS tracking and location. Now lets follow out the events -- if everyone had RFID chips, we could technically eliminate kidnapping or being abducted. If the chips had all the information involving passport, credit cards, essential ID information (birth, citizenship, etc..) then it's a fail safe system right? OR... what else could happen? Well... what if you were considered a criminal or someone who didn't agree with the government at large.. what could that government do? (Matrix, Gataca, 1984, Minority Report, iRobot, etc)... they could turn the chip off, which means you would lose your identity within the system - and anything and everything that allowed you free travel would be eliminated in a blink of an eye. We could say, that's not bad, then you would be out of the system. Well what does that mean? Without credit/money -- you wouldn't be able to make purchases or afford common items that the citizens would be entitled to: health care, food, basic supplies, shelter, information access. Without an ID, you couldn't track down information or access knowledge. Without a passport, you can't leave or enter a country. In many ways though I believe there's other elements at work that are veering away from this. Social networking is also a potentially powerful force that could take off on its own to create another kind of "internet" -- With adequate resources, knowledge and wisdom -- it's quite a viable entity. The illustration of the Egyptian internet cut-off is an example of its power. I remember somewhere that the concept of mob mentality is that it grows in strength but lacks the intelligence to properly orchestrate and engage things to a particular end (cause or goal). Usually the mob mentality is very behaviourally predictable and can be controlled knowing those particulars. Initially it appears formidable but it lacks essential components in its makeup to be sustained or considerable. However, when it taps into intelligence it's a force to reckon with. A simple and fictional example of this was brought to light in Jurassic Park and the nature of velociraptors - there were several of them acting in unison for a unified goal and their actions proved lethal. Other examples more factual within nature - Wolves, Coyotes, Dingo's, Hyena's -- within their grouping are capable of executing tasks to the end goal of providing food for their group as well as protecting them. An example of the protective mechanism of group mind in action would be the Meerkats. As an added note comment regarding your research in subliminal broadcasting in the early 70's, yes it has advanced tremendously. If people knew to what effects it's just outrageous. And some of the understandings and knowledge that has come from it also fuels other courses and classes -- such as communication, psychology, politics, sociology, etc. Just a simple illustration of this bleed through within communication, it's often noted to "address your audience" -- this entails that you need to know who you're speaking to - to impart your knowledge or information correctly. Otherwise it is not heard, not listened to or not acted on. So aside from knowing HOW to communicate you also need to understand the environment and situation for that communication.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I am familiar with all of your links. Seems lately, that Sun Tzu has been part of my articles and comments. At university, I did a research project on subliminal broadcasting. It was scary then in the early 70s. I can only imagine how much it has progressed since then.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I like PayPal, I wish it had competitors as you say. But, none are accepted by everyone.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Ebay/paypal corporate heads are anti-gun rights too. So I guess they believe in a totalitarian state. When I can, I try to do business with their competitors as much as possible. However, they keep buying them up too. Don't they own Bill-me-later now too?

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Could you keep us informed as to what comes of the investigation. Have you looked at any other guides? The eBAy/PayPal one is interesting. They state they will turn over information without a warrant.