Security and Privacy Concern about Logos4 Phonning Home

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Chuck P. | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 8:52 AM

If I had very personal counseling/prayer records on my computer I would use something very simple, like Notepad to keep them.   I would not put those type of records/data in Logos anymore than I would put them in Facebook.....but, that's just my opinion....

I use Logos for Bible study only...I have separate areas where I keep my prayer lists....

 

 

Chuck

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Todd Phillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 9:04 AM

Jim Towler:
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.

This seems like a reasonable solution. If I had privacy concerns in my use of any program, I would pursue this route (especially in the case of missionaries in closed countries). Even if Logos said that the Use Internet switch shut of all network access, it's a prudent decision to have a second layer of security in the firewall.  Plus it would give you more fine-grained control than I suspect Logos would considered implementing themselves (for simplicity's sake).

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Graham Owen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 9:17 AM

Jim Towler:

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?

I had never considered this as a concern because I do not use Logos in this way but it has made me think about how important the privacy of my data is.

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... There are restrictions on how and where data is stored this might be a real can of worms as what you can and can not store in synchronised files could depend on what country you are in!

Logos may have to allow control of synchronisation on a file by file level so that we can use the files and comply with local laws.

God Bless

Graham

Pastor - NTCOG Basingstoke

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 9:37 AM

Jim Towler:

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.

Jim, Although many may think your concerns extreme, they are still valid concerns if you happen to be a Pastor using your Logos software to help counsel -per your fictional example. Logos does go further than many banking institutions in securing your privacy. I also believe Logos employees are, on the whole, trustworthy. But it only takes one failure in the wall of security to facilitate a loss. Other corporations have lost millions of private records in one security breach.  But realistically any thieves or snoopers will be looking for a way of financial gain and most juicy gossip is worthless unless it can be used for blackmail purposes. This would not lessen the pain from loss of trust and privacy. So for total security you either need to avoid synching at all (unreasonable due to the software design) or avoid putting any personal identifiable information in your notes(difficult.) 

Check out this for a little reassurance about Logos security: http://www.logos.com/about/sitesecurity
And your privacy: http://www.logos.com/about/privacy

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 9:42 AM

Graham Owen:

Jim Towler:

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?

I had never considered this as a concern because I do not use Logos in this way but it has made me think about how important the privacy of my data is.

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... There are restrictions on how and where data is stored this might be a real can of worms as what you can and can not store in synchronised files could depend on what country you are in!

Logos may have to allow control of synchronisation on a file by file level so that we can use the files and comply with local laws.

People who are concerned about security should always carefully read the EULA that comes with virtually every piece of software you can get (free or paid for). If the level of privacy/security is not what you want, either pursue the matter with the company or don't use the software. Period. Logos has been quite open about how it uses our data. We users should exercise responsibility in how we use this (or any other) program. I agree that Logos4 is not a good place to store any confidential information.

BTW, the Logos EULA is quite short and simple. Here's the part on online backup:

ONLINE BACKUP

Data you enter into the Software, including notes, settings, preferences, and documents, will be automatically backed up to Logos.com over the Internet, and downloaded to other instances of the Software logged in using your email and password. This automatic synchronization helps you access your content on multiple computers and may be used to let you use your own data online. Logos will not share your data without your permission, but may examine it programmatically for anonymous statistical purposes or in order to provide technical support.

DO NOT STORE HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION IN THE SOFTWARE. The Software is designed for consumer reference and study purposes, and while we will take all precautions to protect your data, we cannot ensure the level of security you would expect from online banking or other highly secure services.

You are responsible to keep the password associated with your Logos.com login private. It is the primary means of security for data synchronized through the Software.

 

Notice the ALL-CAP section telling us not to store highly confidential information in the software. That's our responsibility. Not Logos'.


While we may request additional security measures that would make our lives simpler, it seems patently obvious to me, that it is our responsibility to use the software appropriately within its design constraints, until such time as those constraints may change.

For this and other reasons, I don't use Logos' prayer list, nor would I store any information that may harm a brother or sister (even potentially) on my computer unless I had the ability to encrypt the file with a password. I do not consider any level of security below password-protected encryption to be high enough for a responsibile level of pastoral confidentiality.

Imagine a friend, or family member, using your computer, and Logos4 for some purpose and stumbling upon your confidential information. Even if Logos didn't sync the info, it's still not confidential, if its available to anyone who might borrow your copy of Logos for a quick look-up, or a demo, let alone an office snoop, or the like.

My point is that confidentiality is primarily a user issue.

I have no personal concerns about my privacy and the way Logos uses my information, and consider the two issues separate. Privacy=protecting my personal information; Confidentiality=protecting the information entrusted to me by/about another.

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

Posts 521
Russ White | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 9:53 AM

Chuck P.:
If I had very personal counseling/prayer records on my computer I would use something very simple, like Notepad to keep them.   I would not put those type of records/data in Logos anymore than I would put them in Facebook.....but, that's just my opinion....

<rant>I watch these threads with some amount of astonishment at the total lack of understanding about the meaning and importance of privacy in our lives. I suspect this is going to hit home at some point in the future, but it's going to take a lot more than a few lectures on a board to convince people just how important this stuff is. It would be a good exercise for every pastor on this board to read a good security blog on a regular basis--for instance, Bruce Schneier.</rant>

Now, let me point out a specific answer to the suggestion above--just don't keep private data in the software. Let me ask--what, specifically, do you classify as "private data?" Did you include the metadata as well as the data? Let me throw out an example. You're the pastor of a large church. Someone sees Sally walk into your office. An hour later, she walks out with tear stains running down her face. This person contacts someone else, who happens to, somehow, have access to your logos layout snapshot. Looking at these, they find the verses you've referenced during Sally's visit all relate to adultery.

So what's private about when Sally walks into and out of your office? And what's private about what you looked up in your Bible software? This is the slippery slope of metadata. And this is where google, for instance, makes their living; collecting metadata about you, and turning it into actionable information.

Ah, but Logos would never release such information. Which is just saying that we have to trust Logos, which is just saying we have to trust people.

Ah, but no-one would ever go to this sort of trouble to find something out. Really? If you think this, you totally underestimate the level of evil resident in human beings.

Look, folks, I know most of you won't take this seriously. I know most people think, "if I've done nothing wrong, I've nothing to hide." Great, but remember that hiding doesn't always have to do with "doing something wrong." Or those who say, "I'm willing to die for my faith." Great, but are you willing to live for your faith, even if it means hiding your faith so you can reach and teach others?

Let's not poo-poo these privacy concerns.

Russ

Posts 352
Mike & Rachel Aubrey | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 9:56 AM

Jim Towler:

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)

...

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

When I read this, what I see is that you're concerned that Logos 4 doesn't respect the off switch when you tell it to not respect the off switch. Fundamentally, that's what those commands are: instructions to the program to disregard your internet setting and override it on the basis of your own user authority.

As others have said, your idea of blocking Logos in the firewall is probably the best idea. Considering your concerns about privacy, I'm surprised you haven't already. It would have been a good secondary precaution.'

Another option would be to disconnect from the internet right before you open the program and select the "work offline" option at login and then reconnect. But that would be a bit of a hassle...

Posts 611
Graham Owen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 10:04 AM

Richard DeRuiter:
For this and other reasons, I don't use Logos' prayer list

I suspect most of us who know enough about computers know about the importance of care in storing data, the only information anyone will get if they hack into my synchronised files will be ideas and thoughts and as I'm not planning a major book and I'm also not sure how original they are the risk for me is pretty low.

There is however a contradiction between an EULA that says:

Richard DeRuiter:
DO NOT STORE HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION IN THE SOFTWARE

And a software package that includes a prayer list.

I don't think that it would be unreasonable to assume that a lot of Pastors could miss the statement in the EULA and fall into the 'trap' that Jim has described.

Richard DeRuiter:
My point is that confidentiality is primarily a user issue.

Which is why I don't let anyone use my personal user on my personal PC because when all is said and done the biggest risk for anything confidential that I store on my PC is it falling into the hands of someone who can make sense of it and the reality is that someone who knows me is more likely to make sense of it than someone in Bellingham!

God Bless

Graham

Pastor - NTCOG Basingstoke

Posts 325
Rene Atchley | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 10:09 AM

Privacy seems like a primary concern for me, and perhaps others, in a software world that seems to think at times that my computer is a smart terminal for their software.  One issue that may need to be addressed is the increasing integration of my computer (and interface) with their own servers as part of the core architecture of this software.  What next in L5 an AI that "helps" me to choose the right tools to do "proper" exegesis and reports the results back to the great brain at Logos. 

I hesitate to purchase any further upgrades as this smart terminal architecture seems to be evolving for many reasons including privacy.  I'm a human out here not a profit unit for a marketing campaign for the next generation of Logos enhanced and totally different interface.   Privacy is a key issue in the Western context just because we are alive and breath...and thats good enough I think.

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Ted Hans | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 10:10 AM

Ted Hans:
Simple, on "Program Settings" turn off "Automatically Download Updates" AND "Use Internet" problem solved.

Call me confused by this thread! When i have done the above "ADU" & "UI", it stops all internet traffic. I even get the option to select work offline when i start up . I am surprised that some are suggesting this is not the case. Or perhaps i am not understanding the issue as i ought to. So the "work offline" does not work but it seems to work for me.

Ted

Edit: Posted before i saw Mike Aubrey's comment above.

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Posts 611
Graham Owen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 10:19 AM

Russ White:
Someone sees Sally walk into your office. An hour later, she walks out with tear stains running down her face.

This could cause enough problems without any help from Logos...

Russ White:
Ah, but Logos would never release such information. Which is just saying that we have to trust Logos, which is just saying we have to trust 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.

God Bless

Graham

Pastor - NTCOG Basingstoke

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 10:24 AM

Russ White:
Now, let me point out a specific answer to the suggestion above--just don't keep private data in the software. Let me ask--what, specifically, do you classify as "private data?" Did you include the metadata as well as the data? Let me throw out an example. You're the pastor of a large church. Someone sees Sally walk into your office. An hour later, she walks out with tear stains running down her face. This person contacts someone else, who happens to, somehow, have access to your logos layout snapshot. Looking at these, they find the verses you've referenced during Sally's visit all relate to adultery.

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. In other words Logos doesn't track this kind of meta data unless you allow it to do so, and then it does not do that in a way that can be traced back to a specific person, place, and time.

Now, if you created a verse list (coming in 4.0c), or a note file with those verses, or created a snap shot with that search page open, that data would be transferred to Logos and stored there until those files were overwritten.

Also, this tells me that those with privacy concerns (though I would use the term 'confidentiality' to describe your concern - see my post above), should not use Logos in a confidential setting, in addition to storing confidential data in the system.That would be a good time to pull out your paper Bible, which may even have a concordance in the back (mine does).

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.

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 10:58 AM

ReneAtchley:
What next in L5 an AI that "helps" me to choose the right tools to do "proper" exegesis and reports the results back to the great brain at Logos. 
Big Smile

ReneAtchley:
I'm a human out here not a profit unit for a marketing campaign for the next generation of Logos enhanced and totally different interface. 

Change is unavoidable. Change is always uncomfortable. Paradigm shifts are the only way to embrace the future. Logos is only attempting to deliver what the users need. The vision appears to be "Deliver a seemless, highly productive Bible study vehicle." The inclusion of Prayer lists in a cloud based application makes the "unspoken" prayer requests a lot more sensical these days.  Just don't enter any private data and you should fare just well for the foreseeable future. If somebody did not watch the bottom line of financial responsibility, Logos would go bankrupt quickly. I am glad they are counting beans.

ReneAtchley:
I hesitate to purchase any further upgrades as this smart terminal architecture

 "Smart terminal" technology & push marketing are already here. Your ISP uses it on your email page. Your browser uses your info to push ads. Your cable TV provider uses your info & your cell phone company. Even your G@@gle search returns are tailored for geographical and subject relevancy. We can embrace technology and harness it's power for the advancement of the Gospel message or we can exercise stricter separation from the world. I plan on doing more of both in the coming years.

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Rene Atchley | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 11:27 AM

I know Matthew this is the age of post-modernism and socially defined reality in which my perceptions are dependent on the cultural and social context of the reality that I exist in.  The question is how does Logos know what I need as a user of its products?  How does it determine what I need?  For example I use an inductive English Bible method that is devoid of a "proper" historical-grammatical approach that can be readily be AI'd by the on board biblical expert from Logos.  Who no doubt is part of the cutting edge paradigm shift that minimizes the human existential element in the objective (yet post-modern) approach to exegesis in future Logos software. 

I would agree that it is best not to put personal data into Logos since the integration of what appears to be the elimination of the human element in the software architecture of Logos products.  The issue at heart of privacy matters is the bottom line of Logos (imo) that can readily objectify consumers in the pursuit of the profit especially if Logos knows what is best for me and other users.  You know if they can just make an extra few dollars per user unit by selling space on our L4 desk tops to a related Logos family business which then pushes their products to us...well that's ok too.  Even the Luddite that I may be recognizes an inherent conflict of interest in a Christian business model that both advances the Kingdom of God  on an individual basis while also maximizing profitability from those profit units at the other end of Logos network. 

At this point I'm not sure that such a conflict exists.  However, the early signs of consumerism overtaking Kingdom principles maybe exemplified in the issue of privacy and how it is handled by Logos.  Paradigm shift....maybe...maybe not...but recognition that the City of Heaven can be at odds with the City of Earth has already been done I think.

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 1:11 PM

ReneAtchley:
For example I use an inductive English Bible method that is devoid of a "proper" historical-grammatical approach that can be readily be AI'd by the on board biblical expert from Logos.  Who no doubt is part of the cutting edge paradigm shift that minimizes the human existential element in the objective (yet post-modern) approach to exegesis in future Logos software. 

 That is rather poetically beautiful, isn't it?  Smile  But I think we are reading much more into this than what Logos is up to. I believe they are seriously dedicated to Bible study, first & foremost. But like any preacher or Bible professor who accepts a paycheck, Logos does rely on an income to feed their families and ensure the health of the company for future needs.

At the risk of offending some, I tallied my Logos resource purchases for the past 24 months. The current Logos sales prices go over $20,000. I did not pay that much of course. Through the many sales opportunities I saved a substantial amount of money. I do not consider push marketing as an offensive action. I have subscribed to receive notification of all pending Pre-Pub shipments and regularly scour the blog and product pages for savings. If Logos were greedy, they would not discount anything they have a monopoly on. But they do offer substantial discounts on a regular basis.

Logos is a Bible study tool, not a confidential counseling room. I don't mind digitized bits of Bible study flying through the ether. It beats all the disgusting content of the rest of the internet. If the evil Christ-haters want to find a Christian to persecute they can do so without resorting to intercepting our cloud-synching software.

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 1:43 PM

I agree with the privacy issue that seems to be increasing with each new software update (not talking about Logos). But the bigger issue for me has been the Windows7 sleep mode. My PC began refusing to go to sleep, until I traced it to programs that want to maintain an internet connect (all hoping to be quite helpful). So I now look for any options to 'work offline', and set my firewall by program to disallow operating as a server. I've done the same with Logos4 and haven't had any problems with it trying to get around 'me'.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 2:33 PM

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.

This is my personal Faithlife account. On 1 March 2022, I started working for Faithlife, and have a new 'official' user account. Posts on this account shouldn't be taken as official Faithlife views!

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 3:35 PM

Mark Barnes:
The definitive information about Logos internet access.

Thank you, Mark, for injecting some sanity into this thread. Geeked

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Scott S | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 3:49 PM

Mark Barnes:
The definitive information about Logos internet access.

Mark - Thanks for verifying this and replying to my earlier question. Smile

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JimTowler | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 20 2010 5:07 PM

Jack Caviness:
Thank you ... for injecting some sanity into this thread

Jack,

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.

A number of people have expressed an important level of concern here, and I hope Logos takes note. If they have 100,000 customers, and only 500 or 1000 post here, then scale every viewpoint up by 1000 or so. For every one here, its safe to assume there are many others sharing variations on the same theme.

I am intending to explore blocking the sync functiions of Logos4, in the hope I can have a fully operatonal application, but to have none of my personal content ever be synced online. I dont currently have anything in Logos4 that would be of any concern to me, but I feel strongly about wanting to be able to turn it off.

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