ENVIRONMENT — NEW OIL SPILL ESTIMATES EXCEED BP’S ‘WORST CASE SCENARIO’ BY THOUSANDS OF BARRELS A DAY: Based on “sophisticated scientific analysis of seafloor video made available Wednesday,” Steve Wereley, an associate professor at Purdue University, told NPR that the actual spill rate of the BP oil disaster is about 70,000 barrels — or 3 million gallons — a day, which is 15 times the official estimate of BP and the federal government. Another scientific expert, Eugene Chiang, a professor of astrophysics at the University of California, Berkeley, calculated the rate of flow to be between 840,000 and four million gallons a day. These estimates suggest that the Deepwater Horizon wreckage has already spilled about five times as much oil as the 12-million-gallon Exxon Valdez disaster. The new figure exceeds the “worst-case scenario” offered by Transocean, BP, and Halliburton officials, who told Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) last week that the maximum possible flow would be “60,000 barrels a day.” Markey said in a statement on Thursday that “an underestimation of the oil spill’s flow may be impeding the ability to solve the leak and handle the management of the disaster,” adding that, “If you don’t understand the scope of the problem, the capacity to find the answer is severely compromised.” BP, meanwhile, has not endorsed the new estimate. It has also declined to take “off-the-shelf instruments routinely used” in deep sea research down to the gusher to measure the rate. A BP spokesman said that the company “has decided to focus on stopping the leak rather than measuring it.” BP’s CEO Tony Hayward sought to downplay the scope of the disaster, telling the Guardian that “the amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume [of the Gulf of Mexico].” The edges of the massive oil slick are expected to begin hitting shore in Mississippi by Sunday, although bits of “tar balls” from the spill have already been found on the beaches of both the state’s mainland and barrier islands.
Facebook claims that it has 400 million users. But are they well-protected from prying eyes, scammers, and unwanted marketers?
Not according to Joan Goodchild, senior editor of CSO (Chief Security Officer) Online.
She says your privacy may be at far greater risk of being violated than you know, when you log onto the social-networking site, due to security gaffes or marketing efforts by the company.
Facebook came under fire this past week, when 15 privacy and consumer protection organizations filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, charging that the site, among other things, manipulates privacy settings to make users’ personal information available for commercial use. Also, some Facebook users found their private chats accessible to everyone on their contact list–a major security breach that’s left a lot of people wondering just how secure the site is.
In two words, asserts Goodchild: not very.
On “The Early Show on Saturday Morning,” Goodchild spotlighted five dangers she says Facebook users expose themselves to, probably without being aware of them:
- Your information is being shared with third parties
- Privacy settings revert to a less safe default mode after each redesign
- Facebook ads may contain malware
- Your real friends unknowingly make you vulnerable
- Scammers are creating fake profiles
Below is an edited transcript of the interview.
Is Facebook a secure platform to communicate with your friends?
Here’s the thing: Facebook is one of the most popular sites in the world. Security holes are being found on a regular basis. It is not as inherently secure as people think it is, when they log on every day.
Certainly, there are growing pains. Facebook is considered a young company, and it has been around a few years now. It is continuing to figure this out. They are so young, they are still trying to figure out how they are going to make money. It is hard to compare this to others; we have never had this phenomenon before in the way [so many] people are communicating with each other–only e-mail comes close.
The potential for crime is real. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, victims of Internet-related crimes lost $559 million in 2009. That was up 110 percent from the previous year. If you’re not careful using Facebook, you are looking at the potential for identity theft, or possibly even something like assault, if you share information with a dangerous person you think is actually a “friend.” One British police agency recently reported that the number of crimes it has responded to in the last year involving Facebook climbed 346 percent. These are real threats.
Lately, it seems a week doesn’t go by without some news about a Facebook-related security problem. Earlier this week, TechCrunch discovered a security hole that made it possible for users to read their friends’ private chats. Facebook has since patched it, but who knows how long that flaw existed? Some speculate it may have been that way for years.
Last month, researchers at VeriSign’s iDefense group discovered that a hacker was selling Facebook usernames and passwords in an underground hacker forum. It was estimated that he had about 1.5 million accounts–and was selling them for between $25 and $45.
And the site is constantly under attack from hackers trying to spam these 400 million users, or harvest their data, or run other scams. Certainly, there is a lot of criticism in the security community of Facebook’s handling of security. Perhaps the most frustrating thing is that the company rarely responds to inquiries.
Do people really have privacy on Facebook?
No. There are all kinds of ways third parties can access information about you. For instance, you may not realize that, when you are playing the popular games on Facebook, such as FarmVille, or take those popular quizzes–every time you do that, you authorize an application to be downloaded to your profile that gives information to third parties about you that you have never signed off on.
Does Facebook share info about users with third parties through things such as Open Graph?
Open Graph is a new concept for Facebook, which unveiled it last month at its F8 conference. It actually is basically a way to share the information in your profile with all kinds of third parties, such as advertisers, so they can have a better idea of your interests and what you are discussing, so Facebook can–as portrayed–“make it a more personal experience.”
The theory behind Open Graph–even if it has not implemented it–is its whole business model, isn’t it?
That is the business model–Facebook is trying to get you to share as much information as possible so it can monetize it by sharing it with advertisers.
Isn’t it in Facebook’s best interest to get you to share as much info as possible?
It absolutely is. Facebook’s mission is to get you to share as much information as it can so it can share it with advertisers. As it looks now, the more info you share, the more money it is going to make with advertisers.
Isn’t there also a security problem every time it redesigns the site?
Every time Facebook redesigns the site, which [usually] happens a few times a year, it puts your privacy settings back to a default in which, essentially, all of your information is made public. It is up to you, the user, to check the privacy settings and decide what you want to share and what you don’t want to share.
Facebook does not [necessarily] notify you of the changes, and your privacy settings are set back to a public default. Many times, you may find out through friends. Facebook is not alerting you to these changes; it is just letting you know the site has been redesigned.
Can your real friends on Facebook also can make you vulnerable?
Absolutely. Your security is only as good as your friend’s security. If someone in your network of friends has a weak password, and his or her profile is hacked, he or she can now send you malware, for example.
There is a common scam called a 419 scam, in which someone hacks your profile and sends messages to your friends asking for money – claiming to be you–saying, “Hey, I was in London, I was mugged, please wire me money.” People fall for it. People think their good friend needs help–and end up wiring money to Nigeria.
A lot of Web sites we use display banner ads, but do we have to be wary of them on Facebook?
Absolutely: Facebook has not been able to screen all of its ads. It hasn’t done a great job of vetting which ads are safe and which are not. As a result, you may get an ad in your profile when you are browsing around one day that has malicious code in it. In fact, last month, there was an ad with malware that asked people to download antivirus software that was actually a virus.
Is too big a network of friends dangerous?
You know people with a lot of friends–500, 1,000 friends on Facebook? What is the likelihood they are all real? There was a study in 2008 that concluded that 40 percent of all Facebook profiles are fake. They have been set up by bots or impostors.
If you have 500 friends, it is likely there is a percentage of people you don’t really know, and you are sharing a lot of information with them, such as when you are on vacation, your children’s pictures, their names. Is this information you really want to put out there to people you don’t even know?
This interview, “Five Hidden Dangers of Facebook,” was originally published on CBSNews.com.
In the next few days the Senate will wrap up debate on a Wall Street reform bill that puts important new rules and restrictions on Wall Street banks. The bill is not finalized yet and we’re fighting hard right now to strengthen it, so call your senators today and tell them to support real Wall Street reform, including oversight of the shadow banking system.
Once you’ve called, join AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler next Monday at 11:45 a.m. and help us ratchet up the pressure on the Big Banks and their lobbyists at a Showdown on K Street, the famous Washington, D.C., avenue of high-priced, deep-pocketed lobbyists who are leading the Big Banks’ fight against real Wall Street reform.
Just like our Wall Street event, we’ll livestream the march and rally online so you can join us from anywhere. Add your name to the list of marchers here.
On K Street we’ll be targeting the lobbyists for Wall Street’s Big Six banks—Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo/Wachovia. Since last year and so far through 2010, Big Banks have spent about $1.4 million a day in lobbying and political expenses to fight reform. The Big Banks have four lobbyists for every member of Congress. It’s obscene.
And don’t forget, while you wait for the big event, call your senators now and tell them to support real Wall Street reform, including oversight of the shadow banking system.
Call Your Senators Now: 1-877-323-5246
AFL-CIO Online Mobilization Coordinator
Among other things happening and being reported, the news of today could be that the Senate got a lot done yesterday and seems to be buying into having some courage; maybe we can get some real Financial Reform that Wall Street, Big Banks and AIG types will respect, feel and be punished for not adhering to if they create another system that bets against the people. Republicans are against Reform …
Is it just me or does anyone else find it awfully strange that people on the right and or Republicans appear to be mad about too much gov’t spending and or big government, but Politicians from the right are holding meetings with big Oil Corporations, big Banks and AIG type agencies and then there’s Sarah Palin campaigning for anti-abortion? they want the government and entitlements out of all our lives until it comes to issues like abortion which they want to completely control… unreal. Republicans, maybe some conserva-dems too are clearly on the wrong side of Financial Reform … asking for money and support?
What i feel is lost in the Media coverage and obviously the Public is missing … is what side Republicans are actually on and it’s not on the side of We the People… sure folks are voting in more conservatives …but it doesn’t seem like they are watching closely… Republicans are on the side of the very people who led us into the financial ditch; Wall Street, Big Banks and AIG types. Republicans are against Financial Regulations, Republicans want to Repeal Health Care so that the many who might have a chance will continue suffer and be discriminated against.
In the case of BP; Congress needs to find the courage, face the reality and vote to at least a moratorium on oil drilling… though jobs will be lost and that aspect of the oil dump will be a major concern of our President… it’s obvious that drilling needs to be completely re-evaluated… we are finding out that these 3 Big Corporations BP, Halliburton, TransOcean; BP being the focus and maybe many others like them have bet on risk… the average amount of accidents against being ready for one was not only a disaster, betting on averages obviously proved to be the wrong move. Now, we find out that not only did their equipment fail the emergency protocol or plan b,c,d also failed. The idea that they bet or took a risk on not having a big accident and even so the cost of the fine and clean up …probably a lot less than the profits from drilling and or an insurance claim itself.
In other news …SB1070 or the new Arizona law making racial profiling legal, has prompted Los Angeles into boycotting the State, a school superintendent deciding the winning girls BB team will not play the championship in Arizona, the RNC cancelling their convention in Arizona and at least 22 other conventions have been canceled, yet Baseball Commissioner Bob Selig seems to be ignoring calls to move the Phoenix All-Star game out of Arizona. I am not sure what it will take for Gov Brewer and others to get the gist … SB1070 is a horrible law, the new birther law is horrible and now shutting down any and all Ethnic Study classes in a State and or Federally funded run schools should be considered a problem and addressed asap.
Other News …
**Washington and Oregon State politicians/lawmakers are looking to ban offshore drilling;any drilling spill/disaster would affect over half a million people on the west coast
**Thousands mourn Lena Horne in the NYC
Financial Overhaul Bill enters final weeks in Senate
Chamber CEO Focuses on Job Creation
In a speech at the National Press Club, the CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thomas J. Donohue will unveil an economic impact study entitled “Opening Markets, Creating Jobs.” His speech will highlight the number of American jobs created by free trade agreements and assess challenges from overseas and at home.
Reuters: Obama Counters Republican on Jobs