Monthly Archives: March 2009

Consumer Watch: Verizon

As a Security and Risk Analysis major, I like to keep an eye out for shady things that corporations and governments do.  While not exactly Penn State specific, I wanted to shed some light on an interesting situation with Verizon Wireless.  I’m going to try to keep this post short, as the details are slightly boring.  Here is what you need to know:

  1. If you are a Verizon Wireless customer, Verizon will (or possibly already has) sent you a small brochure with lots of small, fine print that you’ll probably never want to read.
  2. What the small, fine print says is that if you don’t take any action within 45 days of receiving the letter, you are giving Verizon permission to share your personal data with any companies that Verizon is affiliated with.
  3. This personal data includes information about services you have purchased, info about calls you make and receive, billing information and location information.

If alarms aren’t going off in your head signaling that this is a little slimy and a breach of privacy, we should probably talk.

So if you are concerned about this (which you should be) do the following things:

  1. Sign into your “My Verizon” account
  2. Click on “My Profile”
  3. Click on “View/Edit Privacy (CPNI) Settings” under the Phone Controls section
  4. Select the button for “Don’t Share My CPNI” for all cell phone numbers
  5. Click “Submit”
  6. Congratulations, you are done

So tell your Friends, tell your Dad, tell your Mom.  Free Credit Seriously though, tell your family.  They probably don’t read the fine print either.

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Posted by on March 27, 2009 in Security, Tech News


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The New and Improved Facebook

Most Facebook users have noticed a notification at the top of their homepage which appeared a few weeks ago that linked to a page with information about the new layout design. For those of you that haven’t seen it, you can find the link to the information page here.

In the history of the Internet, websites have proceeded to transition from text to images to music and finally to video. Since social networks are inherently a hub of text, pictures, music and video, designers must figure out the best way to organize all of the information. Social networks must also fight to stay competitive in the packed market of social networks.

logo_facebookTo do this, they must offer their users something that other social networks can’t. Facebook’s edge over the competition has always been a clean interface and continued expansion of features. As of the publish date of this article, Facebook has registered over 175 million active users, a staggering 2.5 % of the world’s population. With their growth, Facebook has upgraded their user interface while relying on the underlying foundation of their social network- people’s connections to each other. Most interface changes have gone relatively smoothly and have not drastically changed aspects of navigation or user experience.

Facebook is currently rolling out updates to their layout, which means that your profile will upgrade to the new version automatically within the next few days. If this layout design goes anything like the last time they redesigned Facebook, there are bound to be lots of angry people. To me, this anger is extremely unfounded. Since the beginning of Facebook, the social network has kept with its theme of a clean interface. The gray, blue and white color scheme keeps things simple while navigation between pages has remained very easy and clear. In fact, one of the main reasons I use Facebook is that I can’t stand Myspace profiles. Sure, Myspace prides itself on letting the user configure their profile, but how many Myspace profiles are truly hideous? In my experience, the answer is easy: too damn many.

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Posted by on March 14, 2009 in General


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