Is Privacy dead, should we just get over it?

DATE

05th December 2012

CATEGORIES

technology, trends

It is a well-known fact that companies are always improving and updating their technologies. It should be easy to get people excited about change, but most often they are resistant. This is true of the most beloved of social media websites, LIKE Facebook.

Unlike other companies, when Facebook announces a change in company policy, it has to deal with the repercussions of their decision in the form of angry wall posts. This past June, when changes were proposed to the Facebook privacy policy, only a small segment of users took the opportunity to vote. It has become public knowledge that a student group known as Europe vs. Facebook has been at the forefront of a developing controversy. This student group from Austria has been attempting to pressure the social media giant to adhere to European privacy laws. It has recently been reported by the New York Times that this group is preparing to meet the management of Facebook in court, citing their failure to revise their privacy policies. For almost a year, Facebook and its executives have been under scrutiny by the EU, literally forcing them to make some policy changes. Unsatisfied, the student activists continued to press the issue publicly. When Ireland inspected the security policies of Facebook, the company was forced to comply with that country’s policies, since they relentlessly searched into the security policies of Facebook management.

 

Research indicates that the office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner first began to look into the policies of Facebook in 2010. Following this investigation, Facebook conceded that it would make a number of changes in their policies. According to this agreement, Facebook would discontinue its automatic facial recognition features segment and decrease the amount of time that it retained consumer privacy data. Despite these agreements, the student group has accused Facebook of a blatant violation of European privacy laws. One of their most blistering accusations is that users are only able to download an archive of their complete Facebook history. Despite the fact that anyone can buy your personal information, FB users can only access information posted from 2010 to the present. Thus, if you were a FB user prior to that date, you are unable to gain access and the student group wants that changed immediately.

As far as Facebook’s privacy policy, there is much that the group is critical of including the casual dismissal of many of the EU’s strict guidelines. To put it simply, they accuse Facebook of composing guidelines so vague, that it gives the company the latitude to basically do whatever they please with their data. The student group claims that legal issues have been reworded and twisted in order to bypass EU’s strictest requirements. Google is another major violator who has also been challenged by the group. They have also been strongly urged to rewrite the privacy policies to meet

EU STANDARDS. ( Great related Youtube Interview with Eric Schmidt ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_7IcuSJ1-k&feature=youtu.be )

 

There is strong evidence that the company needs to amend many of the rules that govern their data use policies. Change will only happen if more than 30% of the USERBASE makes their voices heard.

The importance of a company’s privacy policy cannot be underestimated. The purpose of this policy is to protect us as customers. Unfortunately, there are not many laws that deal with our personal information and how it should be protected. Facebook must accept their responsibility to guarantee that our information is, in fact, being protected and your vote is the only way to assure that this will happen.

 

 

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