[wp-hackers] Plugin update & security / privacy

Alex Günsche ag.ml2007 at zirona.com
Sun Sep 23 13:09:35 GMT 2007

On Sun, 2007-09-23 at 08:37 -0400, Jamie Holly wrote:
> We were discussing this on a political blogger mailing list I am on. There
> are about 30 WP users on that list. As of this morning, 18 of them said they
> will not be moving to WP 2.3 solely because of this. Like one of the
> bloggers said; "If they are not telling you about this feature when you
> upgrade, then when will they take other personal information like emails and
> secretly send them to a server".

I wouldn't go so far to accuse WP/Automattic of *secretly* submitting
data. However, I dislike it when software tries to gather too much data,
and other people obviously agree. (Just imagine what would happen if,
say, MS IIS would send your server environment variables to a MS
server.) So I always look for ways to cut off this kind of behaviour.

Anyway, not upgrading is a bad idea, you know the reasons. You *could*
go back to 2.0.x, but not without much effort and potential issues.

As for Akismet, one can simply find the following section and comment it

foreach ( $_SERVER as $key => $value )
	if ( !in_array( $key, $ignore ) )
		$comment["$key"] = $value;

Luckily, this modification doesn't affect Akismet's functioning, and if
it would (e.g. in a future version), it wouldn't be a problem faking
this data. As Akismet resides in wp-content/ the plugin isn't directly
affected by core upgrades either.

> - Put a close link on the notification. Have it remove it either via ajax or
> a get method (possibly read in admin.php). When it's closed you set an
> option HideUpdateNotification_{$user->ID}. Set that with the
> currenttime+time_to_hide_it. This is option is checked and if the option
> time<currenttime, go ahead and show it again (then the person can close it
> again if they so choose). 

Sounds interesting. However, I have an idea for a hack to prevent the
submission of the blog URL in this specific case, and I think I'll
release it as a plugin in case it should become neccessary.

By the way, could you (Jamie) send me a link to your list, specifically
to the mentioned discussion, to my e-mail address? Thanks.

Kind regards,

Alex Günsche, Zirona OpenSource-Consulting
Blogs: http://www.zirona.com/ | http://www.regularimpressions.net
PubKey for this address: http://www.zirona.com/misc/ag.ml2007.asc

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