Facebook wants to own your data

Right now I'm seriously considering cancelling my Facebook account. I've already removed much of my personal information from my profile and got rid of all the applications.

My reason for this is that Facebook recently (4th Feb 2009) changed its terms and conditions to allow it to... well, pretty much do what it likes with your data.

You might think that this isn't a problem - after all, everyone can see your data but many of you (myself included) have limited the visibility of your profiles to friends only. If Facebook were to sell your data to anyone that pays the right amount, you can almost guarantee that all of your friends, email addresses, blog comments and messages will be available to any number of agencies.

If you think spam is bad now, can you imagine the joy of a spammer that has access to your email address, your friends' email addresses and the comments you've made to them.

In Britain we are protected by the Data Protection Act to some degree - but Facebook is not a British organisation and is not bound by the DPA's rules. I don't really know anything about US data protection laws but from what little I have seen, I am not reassured about my personal data being held by any American company that has shown an indication to sell that data.

The fact that Facebook has already tried to sneakily change its Terms & Conditions without publicly telling its members what was doing shows that Facebook cannot be trusted.

I can't say that I like the idea of a spammer (or some of the government agencies for that matter) to have the full personal details of my life. I have nothing to hide but the Labour government in the UK has already shown a propensity to manipulate electronic data to suit its own agenda - take the under-handed attempt at raising council taxes, for example.

Here's some articles about this topic:

PC Pro : Has Facebook really backed down in privacy row?

Datonomy Blog : Writings on the wall for Facebook data

Computer Weekly : About face for data ownership

BBC : Privacy law call in Facebook row

2 comments :

True Contemplations said...

This is really interesting...Do you mind if I could link this post of yours to my friends on facebook? I would like them to be aware of this. Thank you for the info. Nice blog by the way..=)

Phil said...

Sorry for being so slow to respond, it's been a while since I've been on Blogger... oops.

You're more than welcome to let everyone know (who knows when Facebook will try again?)