Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Facebook Search as the Ultimate Privacy Grab: Big Legal Trouble Brewing

The New York Times has the story at Facebook Unveils a New Search Tool.

Here is what we wrote at our own Facebook page today:
"Want all your Facebook activity to be searchable by strangers? Do a "google" search of the phrase "Facebook Search" and read all about the newest coming grab of your private information for somebody's commercial profit. The whole idea of Facebook originally -- at least the part that made the platform popular -- was to put people into better contact with existing friends or old friends, i.e. a chosen few. Now all that data is apparently to go into a publicly searchable pool unless of course you "opt out" which may turn out to be harder than you think. I have spent the better part of an evening removing things I do not want to be searchable by strangers, and that is essentially EVERYTHING, because none of it was posted for "public consumption", but rather only for my friends. Check out your Timeline and your Activity Log."
Good luck on confining your personal information to your circle of friends.

There is definitely trouble brewing at Facebook. Big LEGAL trouble.

Right now the entire Facebook site is a confused, apparently intentionally disorderly jumble of opt-ins and opt-outs such that very few users can likely tell you exactly what they share and with whom. That of course appears to be the Facebook strategy. User confusion is apparently the magic door to obtaining ever more private information, with the objective down the road of Facebook using that information for commercial profit.

There will likely be severe legal consequences for Facebook down that road, because what they are essentially doing is taking information originally published for ONE purpose and for a specific limited audience only, and appropriating that information for public use for Facebook profit.

That is not going to work.

We ourselves are ready for the next, better social networking alternative, thank you, that respects the privacy of its users and the groups that people form under the assumption that what they post online is not intended for access by strangers or for people never intended to be recipients of specific private information.

There are limits to the liberalized "new privacy" and this is the ultimate limit.
No, thank you. We do not want it.

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