We frequently joke about the Orwellian dystopia of our society. Every day, there seems to be news about how our private data has been compromised yet again, or how we’re secretly under surveillance. Now, there’s a way to use Facebook to monitor your friends’ sleep patterns—or rather, to derive someone’s sleeping habits by tracking when they open up Facebook.
Søren Louv-Jansen, the developer responsible, explains it in more detail in his post on Medium. His code, which is available on Github, examines Facebook timestamps every ten minutes in order to create a relatively accurate timetable. It operates on the idea that many habitual users will check Facebook right after they wake up and just before they sleep, meaning that it’s a valid approach for a disconcertingly large number of us.
“Moral of the story,” Louv-Jansen writes. “We cannot hide. In this digital world we leave footprints where we go, and when we do it, without even thinking about it. Facebook might block this little ‘hack,’ so your friends no longer can track you, but Facebook will always be able to do their own data analysis which is undoubtedly way better than what I’ve come up with.”Interestingly, Facebook was quick to reach out to Louv-Jansen in regards to the matter. He told The Washington Post that Facebook contacted him on Tuesday, stating that his program “violated the social network’s terms of service.” They also requested that he discouraged others from utilising the code. Although Louv-Jansen has ceased using it himself, he refused to take down the tool from Github.
“I’m not proud of people starting to spy on their friends,” he said. “But maybe this can make everybody more aware of the consequences of our actions.”
SOURCE: Cassandra Khaw | Ars Technica