Security and Privacy Concern about Logos4 Phonning Home

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Russ White | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 6:22 PM

Just a couple of replies to different people:

The whole trust thing really breaks down when you consider that we have to trust in the ability of those who own and manage Logos to ensure that everyone they employ, who has access to our material can be trusted which means that its not just about trusting people its about trusting peoples ability to assess whether other people can be trusted.

That's precisely my point--this is all about trusting Logos to do the right thing, all the time, in essence under all conditions. Not to sound mean or anything, but I don't know that everyone is going to trust any company to this level. I don't consider such people to be paranoid--I'm a good bit more paranoid than most, frankly, and have a healthy respect for paranoia.

From my reading of the EULA and other reading about what is sync'ed, your specific example fails. Logos doesn't store or track our searches, and even if we allow it to collect usage data (which we also can turn off - except in beta testing), it does that anonymously and stores all that info in a data heap with everyone else's usage stat's.

Right now. Further, anonymity is highly overrated; the idea misses the point of metadata. For instance, if you think your social security number is somehow "private information," you're wrong. Researchers have recently shown they can "guess" your SSN based on nothing but your month and year of birth and the state (sometimes region) you were born in. Researchers have also proven they can identify you by following your location on a GPS--even if the location of your house is hidden form them, or if you live in an apartment complex with several thousand other people, and park in different places in that complex all the time.

Metadata is extremely powerful. This is an open and active area of research; you should never underestimate the amount of information that can be "found out" without any access to what you might consider "confidential information."

Once again, what I'm saying is not to ignore these confidentiality concerns, but to raise the bar above what Logos could provide, even if it didn't sync with 'the mother ship.' Let's suppose you didn't sync this data and someone walked in and looked at your layout history. You're in exactly the same boat, and such an operation would be much easier. Further, even erasing your tracks can be undone with freeware on the market, unless one erases with DOD level over-writing every time. The issue of confidentiality is not merely at the level of synchronization, but use, no matter how you slice the pie.

There is a huge difference between someone being able to find something out about you by examining your hard drive and through observing disparate pieces of information that aren't, today, considered confidential in any way. There's no need to pick your door lock, is the point.

In the USAF, we used to call these "EEFIs"--essential elements of friendly information.

At any rate, my only point was to say I believe the concern is a real one, and shouldn't be cast off to the side. Logos should seriously consider designing a system where a person can work completely off line if they so choose, for whatever reason they might give. Again, I know a lot of folks here will think that's silly for a variety of reasons, but I consider it an essential point Logos needs to address at some point.

Russ

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 6:49 PM

Graham Owen:
I'm also now wondering about the legal implications with reference to the UK's Data Protection laws for anyone who uses the prayer lists...

Can you explain this a bit further? What sort of thing are you expecting in the prayer list and what does the UK law protect?

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

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 7:14 PM

ReneAtchley:
Privacy is a key issue in the Western context just because we are alive and breath

Sorry the devil made me do it? Big Smile Are you implying that people not in the West aren't alive or breathing?

Seriously, I am suspicious that people over estimate the privacy of their off-line notes. I don't see a big difference between someone walking into an empty office and someone delving into electronic documents - except that the first is more apt to be done by someone who could interpret the information while the latter is more apt to be done solely to prove it can be done - the breaking in having the value rather than what is found there.

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

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 8:12 PM

ReneAtchley:
since the integration of what appears to be the elimination of the human element in the software architecture of Logos products

Okay, I'm totally lost. The only place where I could possibly consider Logos as "eliminating the human element" is in the pre-analyzed, pre-parsed original language resources. Even there, Logos does not assume I unquestioningly accept one view. There are a number of places where Logos does not even provide the tools for eliminating the human element - AI tools, generative logic tools (argument mapping), robust raw text analysis ... What Logos provides are tools to assist one in understanding the basics of the original language, access to a wide variety of what others have seen in the text, a way to preserve our own observations so that we don't keep starting at "square one". Sounds alot like a moleskin notebook, a good fountain pen and a library to me. A whole lot faster and closer to home but ...

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: Tue, Apr 20 2010 8:15 PM

I am not sure, as a modernist, about non Western people (if there are such beings) and what they are doing unless I have concrete proof of such actions (as a positivist). 

It is surprising how little many people value their privacy on line.  In a professional counseling context if private information about a client is released into the cyber world from a computer that professional has violated ethics of his or her vocation that can result in a lawsuit and loss of licensure for said counselor.  Privacy is not an abstraction concerning some ethereal make believe hypothetical that at worst results in an incoherent position as much of theology tends to be imo.  Privacy is about individuals, their lives, their spiritual health, physical, and mental well being that can be harmed when personal information is misused in whatever manner. 

At issue is the basic nature of a software program and how it functions in the cyber world which can lead to real outcomes that can harm customers in the real world.  Its not about a command line, corporate reputation, community trust, EULA, or even whether or not privacy has been violated int he past.  Its about the changes in L4 and how it functions on individual computers at the present that may place consumers at risk.  Perhaps, as with political issues, the only time many may become interested in this issue is when it effects them and their life...which means it already too late.  Lack of corporate sensitivity to this in the design of software can be seen as spiritual fruit which consumers can use to judge the nature of the company he or she is dealing with for good or bad. 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 8:15 PM

Jim Towler:
If the issues in this Forum Thread are of little internet to you

I hope you don't mind ... but this is an absolutely classic typo here Big SmileSurprise

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

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 8:22 PM

ReneAtchley:
I am not sure, as a modernist, about non Western people (if there are such beings)

Thanks, I'm much closer to understanding what you mean.

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 9:04 PM

MJ. Smith:
I hope you don't mind

Smile NO - I dont mind at all.

You cant believe how many times I read, and re-read, and re-read before I post or hit send.

I sometimes find I have completely wrong words, but spelt correctly, in the wrong places. I think my thinking and typing live on different planets at times.

Back to my comment you quoted: Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut, but I was attempting to make the point that this is important to those that think it is.

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Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 2:22 AM

Jack makes a succinct point with which I agree.

Logos is a tool and it has uses for which it is appropriate and uses for which it is inappropriate.

As a study tool - a sermon preparation tool - as a reference tool it is wonderful.

In the example given with the young lady leaving the office with tears in her eyes - it would imagine that having visited a pastor for a pastoral visit she would be crying because all he seemed to do was play with his computer.

I am bemused by the concept of a prayer list that requires so much detail that it could become compromising! Maybe I work in a completely different way but my list contains just a list of names or situations. If I can't remember what I am to pray about for that person for they probably won't benefit from my prayers.

My hammer doesn't have a rubber cushion so I don't hurt my thumb - some of the things necessary to protect confidential information would affect the usefulness of Logos for its prime purpose - which seems to me to be a portable - personal - bible reference tool.

There are probably quite a few who think along these lines too.

Tootle pip

Mike

Posts 1875
Alan Macgregor | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 3:27 AM

Jacob Hantla:
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)

I think part of the problem lies in the fact that Logos' main market (and target) is USA, but its reach is global. Situations in other countries can be very different from those pertaining in USA.

Logos needs to tailor its product delivery to serve this global constituency. Elsewhere in these forums there has been talk of subscription DVD updates, problems of internet access, poor download speeds, severe download limitations in some parts of the world. (Personally, switching to Logos 4 is costing me an extra £13 per month to cope with the extra, unpredictable download capacity Logos needs.) Logos needs to factor these into its product delivery model, so that without harming its main US market, it can meet the needs and concerns of global users.

 Might I suggest the following:

  1. Internet=No means exactly that.
  2. Quarterly DVD Updates available by subscription.
  3. Notification of download available as an option instead of solely automatic downloads.
  4. Information about what these downloads comprise.
3 and 4 above are the sort of thing that Microsoft and Apple do when updates are available.

iMac Retina 5K, 27": 3.6GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9; 16GB RAM;MacOS 10.15.5; 1TB SSD; Logos 8

MacBook Air 13.3": 1.8GHz; 4GB RAM; MacOS 10.13.6; 256GB SSD; Logos 8

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 4:39 AM

Alan Macgregor:

 Might I suggest the following: 

  1. Internet=No means exactly that.
  2. Quarterly DVD Updates available by subscription.
  3. Notification of download available as an option instead of solely automatic downloads.
  4. Information about what these downloads comprise.

#3 we already have, and it's been around since L4 shipped as far as I can recall:

When you have this set to No, instead of automatic downloads, you get a popup message like this, which you can refuse if you like (by clicking the X) and wait until a more opportune time (I think it will ask you again once per day as long as there are still updates you haven't downloaded), or until you decide to do it manually.

 

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 4:42 AM

Jim Towler:
Please be careful with your comments. If the issues in this Forum Thread are of little internet to you, please put down your keyboard and take a walk outside for a while.

I did not say that this thread was of little interest to me. Mark conclusively demonstrated that Logos does not "phone home" when the use internet option is turned off. Synch Now is a command that very obviously overrides the global setting. I can't imagine anyone executing that command by accident. Why would anyone put information of a highly confidential nature unencrypted on an unguarded computer or on anything that can be connected to the internet? You might as well post it on Face Book.

Logos is a Bible Study tool that gains great functionality by "phoning home". I personally want my computers to automatically synch with one another. I keep confidential information in a more secure format.

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Alan Macgregor | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 5:01 AM

Rosie Perera:
#3 we already have, and it's been around since L4 shipped as far as I can recall:

Sorry, I wasn't aware of what happened if you checked no. As a Logos 4 Mac user I am keeping mine always on during the Alpha development.

Just noticed that this is a Logos 4 thread! Embarrassed I'll sneak off quietly.

iMac Retina 5K, 27": 3.6GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9; 16GB RAM;MacOS 10.15.5; 1TB SSD; Logos 8

MacBook Air 13.3": 1.8GHz; 4GB RAM; MacOS 10.13.6; 256GB SSD; Logos 8

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iPhone 8+ 64GB iOS 13.5.1

Posts 325
Rene Atchley | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 5:05 AM

If history has taught us anyting in the West is that we can absolutely trust govt., companies, and insitutions to do what is best for us all the time....Beer

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 5:13 AM

Alan Macgregor:

Rosie Perera:
#3 we already have, and it's been around since L4 shipped as far as I can recall:

Sorry, I wasn't aware of what happened if you checked no. As a Logos 4 Mac user I am keeping mine always on during the Alpha development.

Just noticed that this is a Logos 4 thread! Embarrassed I'll sneak off quietly.

No worries. I would hope the "No" option works on the Mac side as well. It might be worth giving it a try and seeing if you ever get that update option message when others are gushing about the latest new alpha update. If not, you can always turn auto updates back on. Do you have the "update now" command on the Mac alpha yet? That's the way to force it manually even if you have auto updates set to no. I suspect that if all of this isn't working yet, they're working on it and you should have it soon, before the Mac version goes into beta for sure.

Posts 1228
Ron | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 9:26 AM

Mark Barnes:

The definitive information about Logos internet access.

I have tested Logos with Internet=OFF, and confirm that with this setting:

  • Manually running the command "Update Now" does connect to the internet.
  • Manually running the command "Sync Now" does connect to the internet.
  • Going to the home page or changing your preferred Bible does not connect to the internet.

I've been running Logos for quite a while with the internet setting turned off, and monitoring what it does. Apart from me issuing those manual commands, it did not attempt to connect to the internet at all. I see this as perfectly acceptable - indeed, it is good that I can switch the internet connection off then manually over-ride the setting as a one-off with a command.

I'm not sure what all the fuss is about.

PS: I ran the tests with 4.0c beta 4.

Thank you for confirming that Mark

Jim Towler:

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

Sorry Jim, but I agree with Mark and Jack on this.

Logos 4 DOES respect the OFF switch as shown by Mark.  If you turn Internet usage off, the only time that Logos 4 uses the Internet is when you tell it to.  What you are asking for is (no offense) a bit ridiculous.  You are saying that if you give Logos two different commands (one telling it not to use the internet and then a second [Update Now or Sync Now] telling it to USE the internet) that you want it to respect your first command and ignore your second.  You want it to pop up with a message saying "You told me not to use the internet, so I don't care that you are now telling me otherwise...I'm still not going to do it."  All this does is create a gigantic nuisance for those users that want to be able to turn off the internet and then MANUALLY CHOOSE (i.e. Logos is not choosing to ignore the "Off switch", rather you are telling it to do such) when to override that general setting.  You are asking for the program to be dummy-proof to a ridiculous level.  It is already dummy-proof...it is obvious that when you TELL Logos to Update or Sync Now, that will (by necessity) utilize an internet connection...functioning any differently from the current method wouldn't make any sense.

The only (semi) reasonable "compromise" that I can think of would be to offer an option for you to turn on an "override warning message" (though I wouldn't want this to be default behavior...it would need to be a separate setting) that would pop up and warn you upon running "Update Now" or "Sync Now" with a message stating "The command you have run will temporarily connect Logos to the Internet.  Are you sure you want to do this?"  Would such a feature satisfy your concerns?

EDIT - Please don't interpret my CAPS as yelling at you...I'm just trying to provide emphasis...in fact I'm going to change them to italics, just to be "safe"

Posts 188
Kevin Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 10:54 AM

MJ. Smith:

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.

 

Respectfully, he has already listed the easiest way to ensure this, by adding firewall rules to prevent it.  Using a modem will only cause severe frustration due to slow speeds and the fact that when connected it will still communicate with the Logos servers albeit slooooowly.

Comodo Firewall is free and award winning, it will serve this purpose very well.  I use it for this very reason, I do not like any software sneaking out communication if I do not authorize it to do so.  This includes Logos although I love the product and if I "trust" any company it is certainly these lovely folks.  It's just the principle of the thing.

Logos should certainly add an option to disable any net access from within the software settings for those not savvy enough to configure firewalls etc.

 

Logos 5, Windows & Android perfect together....

Posts 188
Kevin Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 11:15 AM

Alan Macgregor:

Jacob Hantla:
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)

 Might I suggest the following:

 

  1. Internet=No means exactly that.
  2. Quarterly DVD Updates available by subscription.
  3. Notification of download available as an option instead of solely automatic downloads.
  4. Information about what these downloads comprise.
3 and 4 above are the sort of thing that Microsoft and Apple do when updates are available.

 

The Logos team has put out a tremendous product that I applaud with vigor.  However I feel that this is a great point that I have repeated myself.  There should be an indication as to what is being updated, ala Logos 3, BEFORE it is updated so that users are aware what is being pushed to their machines.  First and foremost this is because well, these are our computers.  I should not have to choose between losing functionality [by blocking internet] and getting prompt updates.  This also educates me as to what books are getting updated that I own.

We probably should not have to scour the forums to find out what has been updated after the fact, tell me before it pushes.  An auto update off/on option would solve this or even better a simple pop up to advise what is being/has been updated [even Windows does this].

Being an IT guy, I am quite interesting as to what changes are being made.  Please add these as options.  For those that want the "set it and forget it" option let them keep it but some, I think many want to know what is going on with these updates from within the software.

Logos 5, Windows & Android perfect together....

Posts 2964
tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 11:54 AM

For all of you who have the same security concern that I have, I have added a request on www.logos.uservoice.com to prevent Logos from syncing user's data.  Here is a link to my request: http://logos.uservoice.com/forums/42823-logos-bible-software-4/suggestions/660833-add-an-option-that-allows-a-user-not-to-upload-the?ref=title

Posts 521
Russ White | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 11:55 AM

Mike Binks:
Logos is a tool and it has uses for which it is appropriate and uses for which it is inappropriate.

Which, I think, misses the point. The point is it doesn't matter what you intend to use the tool for, it's that your use of the tool has unintended consequences, particularly in the world of metadata. I know this is a hard concept to understand--or, for that matter, to take seriously. But that doesn't make it any less real.

My hammer doesn't have a rubber cushion so I don't hurt my thumb - some of the things necessary to protect confidential information would affect the usefulness of Logos for its prime purpose - which seems to me to be a portable - personal - bible reference tool.

Certainly--but you're missing the point. What if every time you drove a brad on which to hang a picture on the second floor of your house, your front door unlocked? The example may seem stupid, but that's precisely the point of metadata--it is just like the process of hammering in a nail unlocking your doors. The side effects are startling because they're not what you expect, the consequences are unintended, and often far more reaching than we might like to imagine.

There are probably quite a few who think along these lines too.

I'm certain there are.There must be, given the total lack of concern about privacy shown by people who use computers in the general world. Google (among others) certainly makes millions of dollars a year on people's lack of concern about privacy. That doesn't make it right to get down on people who realize the consequences, and are cautious about them. I suppose 9184 must seem like a bright, wonderful future to most modern folks. But the point was to illustrate the dystopia that results from the unintentional side effects of trying to build heaven on Earth.

:-)

Russ

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