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You and Your Privacy
By: Bruce Coker
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    Table of Contents:
  • You and Your Privacy
  • Policies in practice
  • Current Policies
  • Taking back control

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    You and Your Privacy - Current Policies

    (Page 3 of 4 )

    Even worse, many high profile sites have policies that contain highly questionable practices. This is of increasing concern, especially with the growing number and popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook who openly seek to make a profit from the personal and behavioral data provided – sometimes quite inadvertently -- by their members. Such sites deliberately set out to create an environment within which people feel safe to share a high degree of personal information with those they identify as "friends."

    The bigger picture, which is rarely discussed, is that the apparently trivial information that oils the wheels of social interaction on sites such as Facebook is also the marketing gold that earns its owners serious money. Facebook’s privacy policy is in itself a cause for concern, claiming the right to “use information about you that we collect from other sources, including but not limited to newspapers and Internet sources such as blogs, instant messaging services, Facebook Platform developers and other users of Facebook, to supplement your profile.”

    In other words, Facebook is quite open about the fact that it will trawl the Internet for information about its members and use it to further their own commercial interests. You don’t even have the right to instruct them not to do this.

    The policy goes on to say “Where such information is used, we generally allow you to specify in your privacy settings that you do not want this to be done.” So Facebook may offer you the opportunity to stop them benefiting from the information they gather about you, but they are under no obligation to do so, and they won’t stop collecting it, whatever you think about it.

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