Security and Privacy Concern about Logos4 Phonning Home

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This post has 284 Replies | 8 Followers

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JimTowler | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Apr 19 2010 11:16 PM

Dear Logos,

I am becomming concerned about how much and how often Logos4 "Phones Home", as a normal part of its operation.

Examples include:

1) Checking for updates
2) Syncing Page-Marks after every move, scroll, search, or operation
3) Syncing of Notes, Highlights, Passage Lists etc ...
4) Homepage News etc
5) Download error reporting as documented in http://wiki.logos.com/Logos_4.0b_SR-2

My wish is for Logos4 to NEVER attempt any Internet access at any time, if I turn "Use Internet" to off!!!

I accept than all above features wont then work, buts thats OK by me. I will elect to enable Internet from time-to-time, but I want it to be my choice please.

I am almost at the point I am considering adding a firewall rule so I can place a 100% block on the program(s) used by Logos4. I can then enable/disable the rule as required.

I have seen others make comments with some of these views.

Bottom line: Please make "Use Internet" = NO do as it says. Thats all I need to be happy in this regard.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 19 2010 11:28 PM

The one thing you failed to provide in your post is what your concern is. What about "phoning home" causes your concern? As for the error reporting, do you have the same concern with respect to your operating system?The easiest solution for making all your software not phone home is to go with a modem on a phone line.

 

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 325
Rene Atchley | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 19 2010 11:30 PM

It might be interesting to note under the product tab on this web site the top 100 things of L4.  Especially how central the role Logos computers play in backing up your licenses and files from a newspaper metaphor interface.  I suspect that ultimately that the evolution of this product will be very much a total push technology where we would buy a subscription to a centralized "library" or sets of "libraries" (such as classical) that we can use from our own computer(s).  We will really own nothing other than opportunities to access large databases of information.  From this perspective there will be nothing private about using this software in that it will be (maybe) based on every changing interfaces and libraries on Logos computers...if you want to use it you will dial home for it so to speak.

Posts 2783
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Ted Hans | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 19 2010 11:57 PM

Jim Towler:

My wish is for Logos4 to NEVER attempt any Internet access at any time, if I turn "Use Internet" to off!!!

Simple, on "Program Settings" turn off "Automatically Download Updates" AND "Use Internet" problem solved. Hope this helps.

Ted.

 

Dell, studio XPS 7100, Ram 8GB, 64 - bit Operating System, AMD Phenom(mt) IIX6 1055T Processor 2.80 GHZ

Posts 1367
JimTowler | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 19 2010 11:57 PM

MJ. Smith:
The one thing you failed to provide in your post is what your concern is.

MJ, You just have to accept that this is important to me, and I am asking Logos for a formal reply to my concern here.

As for other programs, to the maximum extent possible, I disable all automated updates, usage feedback, quality-of-service reporting, and just about anything else I can turn off.

In some cases, I place a firewall block on the program if I can, or uninstall it, and use something else, or go without. Its MY COMPUTER and MY CALL on this mater.

In Logos, I want "Use Internet = NO" to do what it says, and NOT phone home. Its simple really.

Posts 2783
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Ted Hans | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 12:05 AM

Jim Towler:

In Logos, I want "Use Internet = NO" to do what it says, and NOT phone home. Its simple really.

Hi Jim,

Have you tried my suggestion above? The feature you are requesting, is available in Logos 4 though via a different way.

Ted.

 

Dell, studio XPS 7100, Ram 8GB, 64 - bit Operating System, AMD Phenom(mt) IIX6 1055T Processor 2.80 GHZ

Posts 29611
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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 12:06 AM

Jim Towler:
You just have to accept that this is important to me,

Sorry for prying - I was merely interested because I like to understand others' reactions.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 1367
JimTowler | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 12:09 AM

Ted,

Thanks for the feedback. YES, I already run with Automatic=OFF, and generally also Internet=OFF, but Logos4 does not respect that flag at all times.

If one runs the command "Update Now", "Sync Now", clicks the Homepage, and a few other options, the program still phones home. Those are not too much concern for me, as they are manual choices. However, its the "creeping" that is the concern.

For example, the download error reporting in http://wiki.logos.com/Logos_4.0b_SR-2 phones home on an error. Again, this of itself, is not a big problem. If Logos4 is failing on a download, its because I am wanting to update something or get a new resource I have purchased. In that case, of course I want the resource updated, and any error fixed. And of course Logos knows who I am, and want I just purchased, and what I am attempting to download.

My concern is the "creep" and complete loss of control of when, how much, and what about is in that comms transfer.

Others have spoken of their concerns about their study notes, prayer lists, or specific search needs getting uploaded to Logos, when that content may be extremly private, and with the ability to cause harm to a third party.

Invented Story Follows:

Imagine I add "Bob Smith" to my prayer list, then makes some notes about going with one or two others, to correct a brother, and then I search for verses about correction and something about sexual sins?

How much do I owe it to Bob Smith (invented name) to keep his story private in the extreme?

Repeat: Invented story above.

Posts 1367
JimTowler | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 12:25 AM

MJ. Smith:
Sorry for prying - I was merely interested because I like to understand others' reactions.

MJ,

Sorry if I came over stronger than I intended.

I am seeking for Logos to accept this as a matter of concern to some people. At least me, but I have seen it from others:

There are MANY forum posts where some are seeking both notification and control over what is downloaded. I have also see where Bob Pritchet said we cant have that. Its his company and product but I must disagree with him in that regard. I too want download control. But thats not the focus of my post here.

What we really need is to be able to have "Internet=ON or OFF", but "Sync=OFF" so we get updates, but my notes and usage never leaves my PC.

 

Posts 325
Rene Atchley | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 12:29 AM

Core interface technology of L4 seems to be an increasing integration of Logos based computers interacting with private computers.  The only thing that guarantees privacy is trust toward the ethical  behavior of Logos employees and their technology.   The price for increased bells, whistles, and pretty technology maybe a theoretical problem called privacy.   If one wants to understand corporate benevolence try to sell your license.

Posts 1367
JimTowler | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 12:35 AM

ReneAtchley:
The only thing that guarantees privacy is trust toward the ethical  behavior of Logos employees and their technology. 

Thanks for your comments.

If I could elect to NOT sync my personal content to Logos, then I would not need to consider if I trust them or not. Also, for the invented example I gave above, its something to not share with someone not matter how much I trust them. If its not their story, I can't tell them, no matter what.

"I'm going to tell you a secret, but please dont tell anyone OK. I'm telling you because I trust you"

Sadly, that model fails at some point. We are called to a higher standard sometimes. Don't tell anyone, no matter what!

P.S. Logos is in fact a great model of a company that one can trust, and YES, you can sell and transfer your Logos license. Really: They are a great company. But this is NOT what my original post is about.

Posts 2720
DominicM | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 1:07 AM

Jim Towler:
Others have spoken of their concerns about their study notes, prayer lists, or specific search needs getting uploaded to Logos, when that content may be extremly private, and with the ability to cause harm to a third party.

I am one of those Jim, who have raised this and value my private data.

I wouldn't put any plain text into any PC/ElectronicGizmo "with the ability to cause harm to a third party" even if it had no internet connection

Should you decide to, then I can only suggest you adopt a personal cyper, as once coded ( only you know about your code) you could put "Spoke to Bob Smith about his "Lifestyle Choices", if anyone gained access they would be clueless as to what exactly you mean.. and if thats not enough could be recorded as some other innocuous thing: "Ice Cream Cravings","Fishing Tackle","Train Set","Painting" or whatever , but likewise only you know the REAL decode key.

If its that private, I personally would not be recording it except  in a private paper journal, and even there if its really sensitive it would be coded..

However, having had a harddrive die on me, the fact I am was able to get back up-to-date data immediately when reinstalling was a great benefit, it is also very helpful especially when you travel.

The sad reality is the danger is more likely to come from your local data, someone you know who also knows Bob Smith, accessing your PC when you walk away leaving it unprotected (to get your coffee, restroom, wc, etc), rather than the Logos (server) end

Whilst I also agree NO should mean NO, have come round to seeing the benefits of the cloud.. especially when mobile..

Never Deprive Anyone of Hope.. It Might Be ALL They Have

Posts 13399
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 2:22 AM

Jim Towler:

YES, I already run with Automatic=OFF, and generally also Internet=OFF, but Logos4 does not respect that flag at all times.

If one runs the command "Update Now", "Sync Now", clicks the Homepage, and a few other options, the program still phones home. Those are not too much

Jim,

I have software on my PC that can intercept any internet access from Logos. I have never noticed any internet access when Use Internet is set to OFF. If you believe you can reproduce this behaviour, let me know the steps, and I'll check it for you. (Note that you have to restart Logos when changing that setting for it to take effect.)

Mark

Posts 1367
JimTowler | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 4:57 AM

Mark Barnes:
If you believe you can reproduce this behaviour, let me know the steps, and I'll check it for you.

Mark,

With "Internet=OFF", if you do any of the following:

1) Run the command "Update Now"
2) Command "Sync Now"
3) Go to the Home Page (to change your prefered Bible)

At one level, its not too unexpected that (1) or (2) might still override the OFF setting, my prefered result would be a silent "do nothing / NOP" or a small dialog or status about command not processed due to no internet access. Just as the auto-syncing puts a small yellow alert symbol in the top right if there really is no internet at all.

My concern is NOT with the specific (1), (2) and (3) above, but rather that the Logos4 application does NOT respect the OFF switch.

Posts 421
Scott S | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 5:02 AM

Mark Barnes:
I have software on my PC that can intercept any internet access from Logos. I have never noticed any internet access when Use Internet is set to OFF.

Mark,

Thanks for mentioning that you verified that the Logos Internet traffic can be entirely stopped. I use VoIP with GoToMeeting and my upload Internet connection speed just meets their recommended minimum of 384 kbps.  Since I don't have any headroom, I'm concerned about stopping any unnecessary internet traffic.  Before using VoIP, I turn the internet off in Logos and and turn off auto updates and notifications in Windows XP and Outlook.

What is the software you use to intercept (can it also monitor?) Internet access? I have many applications installed and like to see if they access the internet.

Thanks in advance,

Scott

Posts 5337
Kevin Becker | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 5:02 AM

Jim Towler:
1) Run the command "Update Now"
2) Command "Sync Now"
3) Go to the Home Page (to change your prefered Bible)

Why would you run the commands if you didn't want to over-ride your global Internet setting? It's unlikely that you could run these commands by accident.

I agree that the Home Page should be restricted from using the internet if that setting is off, if an homepage can't be generated without Internet then a message to that effect should be displayed. As a work-around you can change the top bible on your priority list and that will do the same as using the tool on the home page.

Posts 325
Rene Atchley | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 5:11 AM

JIm it really doesn't matter if we perceive Logos to be a great company or not even with a good reputation.  What matters, I would argue, is the product on each of our hard drives and what it does now and what it is likely to do in the future.  To note that a consumer has privacy issues with software that has core push technology and increasing integration of  such technology  is to argue how much privacy the end user has....which addresses directly the original post imo.  Its sort of like asking your mom for the keys to the family car then complaining that she always know where were going to.

Posts 1367
JimTowler | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 5:12 AM

Kevin,

My point about "Update Now" is NOT about why I would make a request when I don't want it to phone home.

The point is that Logos4 does NOT respect the OFF switch.

As for preferred Bible, I change it offen. At present, I tend to prefer to use ESV for Intelinear stuff, but NIV as the one I most remember, so like for reading. So I swap back and forward often.

(It would be nice if I could use "Set default bible to ESV" or "Set default bible to NIV" and make two command buttons, but this thread is not about this topic.)

Posts 13399
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 7:31 AM

Scott S:

What is the software you use to intercept (can it also monitor?) Internet access? I have many applications installed and like to see if they access the internet.

For Logos I use Fiddler2. It allows me not just to monitor whether Logos is sending data, but also what it is sending/receiving. This will also work for any other applications that respect proxy settings. There are simpler programs available if you just want to monitor whether an application is sending data. Your firewall software, for example, may do this already.

I'm not at home right now, but when I get home I'll check whether Logos is really respecting Internet=NO. Initial tests seem to confirm that it is, however (despite appearances, admittedly).

 

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Jacob Hantla | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 7:39 AM

There NEEDS to be a way to absolutely tell Logos not to use the internet at all. Missionaries in closed countries may set Internet Use to No and think that their computer won't be connecting. One of my best friends is in a closed country where he can't have his computer connecting to Logos when he connects to the web. 

Logos, for the safety of those risking their lives for the gospel, please make sure that when internet=No it does not use the internet at all (or confirm for us that this is the case)

Plea

Jacob Hantla
Pastor/Elder, Grace Bible Church
gbcaz.org

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