back to article Facebook tells privacy advocates not to 'shoot the messenger'

Facebook insisted yesterday that it is heavily focused on tightening privacy controls for its users, even if information posted on its platform is re-published elsewhere by people accessing the site. The company's EU director of policy, Richard Allan, told attendees at a Westminster Media Forum seminar on Tuesday that the vast …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    right to be forgotten is a distraction

    Its not the nonsense that i put on FB that needs to be forgotten but rather all the communications records our politicians seem to want to store forever (including their desire to store facebook communications).

    How about the DNA database ? Do innocent people have a right to be forgotten?

    As usual distract the people by pointing to a lesser albeit not benign worry to distract us from what the government is doing to create a police state.

  2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    I have a simple answer..

    Let's assume for a moment that the permission to share data with 3rd parties has been acquired. The result is that you will get your information used by 3rd parties you originally had no contact with, and that's where the problem starts - the permission chain gets confused.

    I would propose that anyone buying data from another source must be obliged to tell you where that information was obtained. An end user should have the option to ask the 3rd party not only to stop using that data, but also have the ability to find out who distributed that data and optionally request the 3rd party to signal removal to their source.

    That way you stand a chance if someone is distributing your personal data - if you cannot get back to the source you will otherwise end up playing a game of whack-a-mole every time your data is sold again.

    In addition, those distributing your data must keep a record of who it was sent to so you can also tackle the issue from the other side. That way, removing the source should fan out to all who bought the data.

    All of this needs to happen with sensible timelines.

    To anyone suggesting that this creates too much overhead: it's the only way anyone will get any real data from me and anyone else who values their privacy - the alternative is serious database pollution..

    1. Anonymous Coward


      "I would propose that anyone buying data from another source must be obliged to tell you where that information was obtained."

      Oh, does THIS wind me up!!! The number of times I have received a phone call out of the blue by someone or other that I have never heard of. When I ask "where did you get my details from", oddly enough, they can NEVER tell me. Typical answer is "we get our mailing lists from a variety of sources... bla bla... bollocky.. bla". I can feel my blood pressure rising as I write this - I'd better stop now.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      worry about

      They won't tell you where they got your address, nor who purchased lists that contained it. (and they claim not to know who those companies are or even how many they are.) Their recommendation to me was to click on the 'unsubscribe link' on every unsolicited email I get (4 so far).

      The lady to whom I spoke (Penny or Peggy... I can't remember) after being transferred to the 'privacy' department was unable or unwilling to tell me how many companies had my email address. She was also unable to tell me if those companies were prohibited from themselves reselling my email address; in fact, she said I should speak to the Sales department. I will be reporting them to the FTC, or BBB, or whomever. I'm not sure if they will be able to do anything, but I know my email admin (and I'm one of the domain admins) so changing my login/email address will be simple. Configuring my previous address to bounce everything will simply be another fun little task.

      On a positive note, I replied to the first email I recevied and asked to be removed from their mailing lists and also asked where they got my address. The considerate person who replied to me sent me a single-use URL to unsubscribe, and also the company from which my email address came from.

      If I could remember who it was, I'd mention it here because they were responsive, and accomodated my request without any bitching, moaning or sales talk.*

      * note to self: save the person's email in case I ever do want a product that they sell.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Has a point?

    Loathe though I am to agree with anything anyone from Faceboook has to say, I do think the chap has a point here (I shall be beating myself with a knobbly stick later).

    Fundamentally, if you are going to upload something to anywhere on the internet then you shouldn't complain too much if that information ends up somewhere you'd rather it didn't, or pops up again many years from now to reveal something you'd rather were left forgotten. Such expectations are unfounded.

    This is a different issue to Facebook's appalling privacy settings and complete indifference to its user's personal right to privacy though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ..but not the one he was trying to make!

      The issue is not separate from Facebook's policy on privacy, it is part of the same booby-trapped parcel.

      As FB have a tendency to keep the user's privacy settings low, and allow 3rd parties access to the data in less than obvious ways then it is more work to keep the personal and not so personal data from being 'Public'.

      As he says, once the data has gone beyond the systems that FB control they have no way to remove the data. This means that for many people, what they put on FB (expecting it to be kept in FB by only allowing access to 'friend' or 'friends of friend') will be put out of both their control and the control of FB.

      The spokesperson appears to be trying to say that this is not their fault, but I would argue that it shows that they have even more responsibility to keep the data as private as possible from external agents.

  4. Whitter

    Data protection act, principle #5

    "Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes."

    I think you'll find data deletion is a matter of legal requirement, not just piffle-paffle.

  5. Tzael

    Delete from Facebook - I don't think so!

    "There's a popular concept that you can't delete information on the internet," said Allan.

    "Facebook is very clear about how you can do that. It's confined to our own service. We're very explicit in our terms to say 'Hey, if you publish information to everyone on Facebook, you're publishing to the whole internet'.

    So how come despite deleting my employment and education history over a year ago, Facebook's friend finding feature still offers links to find friends located at those schools and businesses?

    Plus my latest irritation, the favourite sports and sport celebrities - added one of each over a month ago by clicking the 'Like' button on those two pages. Have removed the 'Like' status but absolutely no way to delete those pages from my favourites.

    1. Stevie Silver badge


      It would be easy to attribute this to evil shenanigans and the Satan-Made-Manifest that is facebook policy, but I think it more likely that here you are firmly in the realm of "just so good and no better" incompetent design - the bane of so many modern computer applications.

      Ironically, had the design been slightly *less* competent there would be no problem as improperly normalized data wold have disappeared along with the stuff it related too.

      Look for more of this sort of thing as "free" database "solutions" that lack the capacity to implement CASCADE ON DELETE constraints (or indeed any FK-type constraints at all) are used to shore up the digital meetingplaces of the virtual world.

      But I'm straying into another thread. Sorry.

      This sort of nonsense is a hot button topic with me right now as I'm currently dealing with a very popular Document Management system marketed by a Hucking Fuge company famous for its mainframe computers, said DM being unequipped with a single-operation method for dealing with the situation when its meta data doesn't match real life. Apparently, no-one asked what might be best for the owner of this pile of dung in such circumstances at the design stage, something that leaves me breathless with incredulity.

      Of course, if a single click solution (AKA forget the missing document FFS) were available, the HFCFFIMC couldn't charge an arm and a leg for a service contract.

      And I expect the same kind of "design thinking" was used in the FB "like" logic. No-one actually thought through what to do when you don't like stuff any more, probably because it isn't important to whatever the (doubtlessly evil) core corporate mission of FB is.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook, privacy, etc

    Fred Flintstone has a point....but unfortunately the genie is already out of the bottle.

    Data consolidators (Choicepoint, Acxiom, FBI, etc etc) already have copied, compiled, cross-indexed, and "cleaned" data from property registers, driving licence records, credit card records, GIS databases, government/state criminal records, telephone lists and lots of other sources to build a "composite" image of each individual. Notice that this can be done even if the individual in question NEVER GOES NEAR FACEBOOK.

    Your US employer probably uses Choicepoint or another similar service to check up on you. Most individuals don't even know this is going on. In addition to Fred's suggestion, there needs to be a legal obligation for all organizations which hold these records TO TELL THE INDIVIDUAL THAT THE RECORD exists. This includes governments and their affiliated bodies.

    Not going to happen! As I said, the genie is already out of the bottle.

  7. MrT

    Dog 'n' Duck

    "The ICO has a code of practice about personal information online that Communications Minister Ed Vaizey has told the commissioner isn't "widely read at the Dog 'n' Duck"."

    Could've stopped at 'widely read' TBH.

  8. Gannon (J.) Dick

    The Right to Collect Information

    (this page intentionally left blank)

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Tom 35 Silver badge

    3rd party

    It's one thing to look at the stuff you posted on FB and use if for stuff you don't want.

    The real problem is that they take the stuff from your store points card, online tracking cookies, and data from all kinds of other sources and cross reference it.

    Data that you provided to allow someone to provide a service is being used for something else without your ok. Your data is treated as a product that is owned by someone else.

  11. Framitz

    Facebook insisted yesterday . .

    I insist that Facebook is E V I L

    Never seen anything to indicate otherwise.

    But I am grateful for the joke that is Facebook, not a day goes by that doesn't include FB BS in large quantities. The entertainment is endless and I don't even need to join or visit the evil FB site.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019