The set of information people publish on their own about themselves (like blogs) is almost exactly the same as the set of information they disclose via Facebook.
Anyone can datamine people's blogs for similar surveilance.
From Stallman's blog & email history on newsgroups I could work out:
who he knows
what projects he participates in
infer his sexual preference
infer his religion (may even be explicit there)
where he lives
where he was on any day (conference speaker history)
Those concerned with privacy have oodles of crypto-tools to do so with.
It's just people can't be bothered. That's the root problem.
Let's just see what can be done without Facebook:
You (pessimizer) have listed your email address pessimizer@xxxxxx .
You have an HN comment history.
Your email pops up in google under Arkansas
You commented on a Django topic.
I could infer your set of HN buddies (maybe not including myself now!).
If you use a pseudonym to hide from those - why don't you use a pseudonym as your facebook account??
I haven't listed my email, but I'm pretty sure people could work out who I was and where I lived from my comment history. But I am reasonably happy that the reward of not having to screen all my comments for incriminating info is worth the risk of someone figuring it out.
(edit with an example)
Point taken, and partially agreed with, but the fact that facebook is systematically doing this about every aspect of every individual's life would guarantee that getting better info than you got about me, in a shorter time, would be trivial.
I imagine there are data-mining companies that are crawling the interwebs systematically to collect detailed information.
Facebook is the motherlode of course, no doubt about it.
Read their term http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms they are things like "transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook"
As Stallman pointed out in the interview, the scale of the monitoring is on a different level of what you can do manually. No matter how hard you try, you will not know what websites pessimizer has visited, FB got a list of his/her visits on any site that contains a like button (doesn't matter if he/she uses FB).
Beside the scale of information disclosed, that's how it can be used or not. I'm pretty sure I can decide what products are endorsed on my blog, not so much on FB, and if we visit pessimizer site, no one will now. On FB, they could use this information to know pessimizer better. Guilty by association ;)
Probably they have some common heuristics to spot a fake, but those cannot be too clever.
Re: Scale of monitoring
Does this not just make the haystack bigger for the same number of needles?
You (gldalmaso) don't list your email address, but you haven't used a unique username, so you pop up under twitter (your name is disclosed).
You have a StumbleUpon page which lists your age (27) and your hometown Flxxxxxxxxx, Brazil
You are clearly an Anime Lover.
This has all been automated, cached and waiting for me just to do a search.
Facebook has not been involved at all.
Sure, you could probably find that out by googling; but Facebook makes it significantly easier.
Saying that Facebook hasn't changed our privacy is like saying that firearms haven't changed the face of war. I mean, it just puts metal through your body just like a bow and arrows.
I also don't want to turn gldalmaso into some sort of cruel hamster to argue a point.
Suffice to say the poor guys twitter feed is completely open. You or I could easily deduce all the answers to your questions based on his past tweets and followers.
If he didn't use twitter, then I could use blog comments.
But one can trivially block these autoinclusions.
My work's firewall directs Facebook.com and Twitter.com to /dev/null . This stops all such tracking.
Individuals could do their own blacklist via Greasemonkey / Charles proxy equivalent.
But it is not a problem owned and invented by Facebook, it is any network.
The problem is: FB has all these things together: blog, e-mail, network of people and surfing habits (inside FB, at least). For you and recursively for each friend of yours.