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Germany is suing Facebook for obtaining and saving data from people who do not use the social networking site. Facebook faces an investigation for violations of Germany's strict privacy laws, which are among the toughest in the world. Johannes Caspar, head of Hamburg's Data Protection Authority, told the BBC: "We consider the …

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More details please

Are we talking email addresses, or what?

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Black Helicopters

Re: email addresses, or what?

JK> Are we talking email addresses, or what?

From related article at http://skunkpost.com/news.sp?newsId=2760:

> "It is a system that is designed around making it possible for Facebook to expand, for its own benefit," Caspar said in a telephone interview.

> He said his office had received complaints from "many" people who had been contacted by Facebook after it obtained their names and e-mail addresses through people listing them as a contact.

// I expressed concern about their policy regarding non-member data a couple of years back (http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/347474, blog articles, ...), and found that the relevant detail in both the actual "your friend invites you" mails and the related sections of the web links therein was considerably less clear than what members are told that advice is (found via tosback.org when the article about them appeared, rather than from the people giving my email address out in evident ignorance of Facebook keeping a record I don't want made). I didn't think it was particularly clear they're a trust-e member either, but at least (maybe) these things are documented on-site somewhere even if the end-user education is abysmal. Disappointingly, little seems to have improved in the intervening year-or-so :(

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Anonymous Coward

Presumably

This is most likely the email addresses that people enter for their friends, or select from their address books, to send an invite to Facebook to. Facebook keep a record of these addresses partly in order to manage opt-outs, and partly so that you as the inviting user can see if the person you invited has responded and joined or not. Can't really see how it's any different from me storing my address book in gmail.

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title

Does Gmail trawl through your address book and spam those listed there?

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Unhappy

Re: Presumably

> Can't really see how it's any different from me storing my address book in gmail

Gmail's address book management is not an analogous situation. If I entrust someone with a personal email address it is with an expectation it gets used by them for personal mail; their storing it in an address book isn't a problem. Facebook has a non-member referrals programme based on an opt-out business mailing list and -credit where it's due- they're better than others about pointing that out ... but, as with work mail/phone etc, it doesn't sink in with some people that there's a distinction to be made concerning the supply of email addresses to it (and, as concerns me in recent news, risk of database leaks from it).

At present, I don't use multiple email profiles to help distinguish between what content comes from whom and neither do I need complicated filtering rules to handle what does come but (having accidentally lost some important recent emails when my service provider reset the baseline set of spam filter rules in favour of the trash they spew out) I'm getting ever more aware that it might be wise. It would help if people appreciated the desire of (some) others to differentiate, but for some reason they can't or won't :(

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Go

Gmail doesn't spam your address book

And nor does Facebook, Like Gmail the user has the option of spamming people by entering their details and hitting send.

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Black Helicopters

That's not the point.

Whether they 'spam' you or send invites on their member's behalf, Facebook's ToS says that they have the right to do whatever they want with this information. (More or less.)

Tying this information to sites the embed Facebook links and java scripts means that they have a way of capturing and correlating data about you, even if you are not a Facebook member.

Hence the rub.

Your family member or friend sends you an invite. Facebook tracks that invite and your response along with an IP address and whatever information. Now they then pull data from their 'partner sites' that have facebook javascript embedded on their page. So they now log your visit to said site. While that site may only know your IP address, Facebook could also have your e-mail address and any other information that they have captured.

Got it?

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Big Brother

FB web bugs

FB uses web bugs planted all around the Web to track their members' (and presumably non-members') browsing habits. Those bugs come in a variety of forms, including the "I like" button, "Connect" form, etc. and for this reason I try to block everything from Facebook on sight. AdBlock Plus and Ghostery add-ons have proven to be very useful for this purpose.

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Big Brother

privacy policies

If you think facebook is bad, do you reckon it can be as bas as one EU based company which has a privacy policy on its website whose key statement is "No commercial use will be made of the information without prior written authorisation from X or where appropriate the X Dealer Network" (name replace by X to protect the guilty)?

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