Friday, July 30, 2010

Privacy Policy

I've just blogged about spies on Facebook and now we have this: "the existence of a[n electronic] document that details the names, URLs, and unique Facebook IDs of 100 million of the site’s users" which is currently being shared as a Torrent file. According to the news artcle, only those accounts which are publicly searchable were included in the said file.

Another article points out that the said existence of such a file does not necessarily mean a bad thing provided that you have not shared to "everyone" (1) personal information that you wish to remain "private" or (2) those information that might be used against you.

Facebook, on the other hand, points out that the said data was already publicly available, given that they are readily available through search engines and their privacy policy have clearly set forth that:

Information set to “everyone” is publicly available information, just like your
name, profile picture, and connections. Such information may, for example, be
accessed by everyone on the Internet (including people not logged into
Facebook), be indexed by third party search engines, and be imported, exported,
distributed, and redistributed by us and others without privacy limitations.

In the end, it is the user's obligation to protect information he wants to protect by making use of the Facebook's privacy settings. But, since a lot of people do not read privacy policies and terms of agreement, they are still those who are left to learn their lessons the hard way.

As what has been pointed out in class several times, "What has been uploaded into the Internet remains there forever." It is, therefore, our own responsibility to protect our own trails. Self-censor if you must.

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