June 9th, 2011

flameangry

Hello FLAGRANT violation of my privacy. You morons.

When you comment in a community* the community moderators and the owner of the post you commented on can now see your location. Country, state, and city. Which means that people living in small towns who do things like... oh... call out a scammer on their scammy posts, for one example I've seen happen a lot, can now be found. Physically. Where you live. By people who might have a reason to go and hurt them.

You can't turn it off. You can't opt out. It doesn't draw from the fields you voluntarily fill in either, far as I can tell it's pulling the info from your IP address. And it's retroactive so every comment you've ever made in any community EVER now has your real location attached to it.

Bra. Fricking. Vo. Livejournal. Bravo. If anybody gets hurt because of this I hope you get sued into oblivion. This is almost enough to make me leave lj, permanently and for real this time, even though this is my primary internet "home" and social hub.

Morons. What the HELL were they thinking of when they did this? WHAT THE EVERLIVING HELL.

(And yes, I know that by posting people's IP addresses they've effectively been doing the same thing all along. But there is a big difference between "If somebody knows how and wants to go through the effort they can see where you live" and "HERE'S WHERE YOU LIVE FOR ANY IDIOT TO SEE RIGHT NOW, NO EFFORT REQUIRED." That kind of thing puts ideas into people's heads. It begs for abuse. It's just pleading for somebody to do something stupid.)

*Update: Apparently it's not all communities. Since I don't own any communities to test with I'm not sure what settings are required, I'm hearing conflicting answers from different people. There's some protesting going on in the latest lj news post, but it looks like most people haven't noticed the change yet. LJ itself has said nothing at all about this, neither notification it was starting nor defense of it continuing.

Update again: They've removed the feature. And there is a poll (and good comments discussion) about the IP logging here: http://lj-feedback.livejournal.com/16181.html

Update some more: Oh GODS I'm glad they removed this. It told people specifically when you move/go on vacation. Ie. if you post from a new spot it displayed (New location(Formerly Old Location)) That is such a bad idea that I can't even come up with words for how much of a bad idea it is! And it means that you can't retroactively proxy it to fix the problem, as it will then say (proxy location(formerly real location)) WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING?

Yay, one more update: "Generally, when you run an IP addresses (past and present) through a search engine, it defaults to the largest town within a certain radius, thus preserving some sense of anonymity. What is being broadcasted on lj, however, is much more specific.

In one instance I entered an IP address from location x into a search engine and it showed my location to be ~20miles from x. LJ reported my location to be ~5miles from location x. (And, incidentally, the town lj announces is not even shown on some road maps.)"

From a user's complaint on the well-hidden post from livejournal that mentioned this "feature" in passing. (Which I finally dug out.)

Now will people please stop treating me like I'm some kind of idiot and admit that I had reason to be concerned? Thanks so much.