Thursday, January 17, 2013

Forbes' Eric Goldman has Few Legal Concerns About Facebook's "Graph Search"

Eric Goldman at Forbes does not share our legal concerns about Facebook Search as being what amounts to a large-scale stealing of private materials for commercial use. See Some Concerns About Facebook's "Graph Search" - Forbes.

My reaction is that I think the modern world's concepts of what is right and wrong and what is "legal" have become terribly warped. Things are totally out of kilter on this score around the world.

If I post a personal photograph to my group of friends, or tell them about my last vacation, what possible legal justification does ANY company or online portal have to use that photograph or posting to drive more traffic to their website by indexing MY material?

And that includes Facebook. Nothing uploaded by me to my Facebook account was intended for any kind of public indexing by Facebook, except for the few precise profile elements that I have expressly permitted to be indexed.

If privacy is not protected at this level, the user has only the protection of intellectual property law for protection against public use of his personal materials by others.

The only difference between a confidential private or business email to one or a handfull or a group of 60 people in a corporation and a strictly limited posting to a group of 60 people on Facebook is just that. The forum may differ, but the privacy should be the same. The privacy may ONLY be different because social media websites are not honoring privacy the way they should by law, and THAT rampant abuse should be stopped.

The forum chosen should not make a photograph or posting any less private if it is intended for a small group of users on Facebook or a small group of email recipients.

That Facebook -- despite express "hiding" of material by the user -- still plans to include that material in Facebook graph search results is an abomination.

And it is not clear what will happen with material found in databases that relates to deactivated or deleted accounts. None of that material "belongs" to Facebook. Will that be included in search results? We hold that to be illegal.

Right now I would like to deactivate and/or delete my Facebook account but I am reluctant to do so because then I can not keep on eye on what Facebook is going to do with my content in the near future. But our goodbye to Facebook is coming soon. And they better not be indexing any of OUR content.

Facebook "graph search" portends a foreboding end to privacy rights and opens the door for commercial appropriation of personal content never intended for public exploitation or profit.

Well, courts are even permitting the patenting of human genes, so this is right in the trend of the misguided legal servants permitting the average man's remaining private and personal assets to become wares to be hawked by traders on commercial markets.

It is a all a sad scenario to a digital revolution which once held so much promise and is now becoming virtually nothing more but a gold mine for greedy commercial interests.

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