Author Topic: Facebook Reminds Users: All Your Data Is Fair Game  (Read 1440 times)

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Offline mayya

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Facebook Reminds Users: All Your Data Is Fair Game
« on: August 30, 2013, 23:36:15 PM »

Facebook Reminds Users: All Your Data Is Fair Game

By Elizabeth Dwoskin

Goaded by a court decision, FacebookFB +0.03% just wants to make it clear: they
really can use everything they know about you – including your face.

The company announced Thursday that it was updating its privacy policies to clarify how the personal information of its more than 1 billion users gets collected and used by advertisers. In a blog post, Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan outlined section-by-section changes to two legal documents, the Data Use Policy and the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

“As part of this proposed update,” Egan says, “we revised our explanation of how things like your name, profile picture and content may be used in connection with ads or commercial content to make it clear that you are granting Facebook permission for this use when you use our services.”

Egan’s disclosure isn’t secret – the social network has said so before. But Egan is simply being more explicit about practices that some users may not quite have understood.

“The policy is much clearer than it was before,” said Joe Hall, a senior staff technologist at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Democracy and Technology. “And that may make people uncomfortable because it’s being very explicit about the ways Facebook can use information you provide or can use information about you.”

Some of Facebook’s other disclosures include:
A provision for minors clarifying that simply signing up for Facebook’s services implies parental consent to use data.
A line which says that apps users install on Facebook have access to the user’s data until users delete the apps.
A line explaining that users may be providing information to Facebook even when they’re not actively using the site. For example, if you have Facebook running on your cell phone, the phone is feeding information to Facebook, including IP addresses, location information, and mobile number, even if you aren’t actively posting content.

One element that is new: Facebook said that it is going to expand its use of facial recognition software to include profile pictures. Right now, unless a user opts-out, Facebook software recognizes people’s images in posted photos with tags. In addition to tagged photos, Facebook is going to start using users’ profile pictures as a reference in suggested tags.

The new language is the result of a protracted legal battle over privacy. In 2011, some Facebook members filed alawsuit against the company, accusing it of publicizing their “likes” in ads without their consent. On Monday, Facebook agreed to pay $20 million dollars and to update its policies to better explain how members’ personal information is used by the company. Minors were at issue in the lawsuit; the plaintiffs tried, unsuccessfully, to get Facebook to create an opt-in feature for those under 18.

While Egan says users have seven days to comment on the updated policy, she doesn’t say whether it will make any of the changes that users request. And not surprisingly, some members are already blasting Facebook with suggestions for more privacy controls.

“As always,” Egan says in the post, “we will carefully consider your feedback before adopting any changes and we will post updates on the Site Governance page throughout the process.”