Over the last year I’ve become increasingly worried about the security of my ‘identity’ online, specifically my Facebook account.
It was after reading a couple of online resources that I made my mind up, especially the news that Facebook have been forced to revert back to their ‘old’ T&Cs as their new ones gave Facebook unparalleled rights in using my information, photos, etc form here to eternity. Here are the bits that helped me make up my mind:
BBC News: Privacy law call in Facebook row, 20th February, 2009
“EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Centre), along with 12 other consumer and civil liberty groups, were intending to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the policy changes when it was stopped in its tracks.”
“The new terms seemingly gave Facebook vast control over users’ content.”
Alan Burlinson’s Blog: How to leave Facebook, 19th November, 2007 (old, but still valid today)
“… it isn’t actually possible to leave Facebook, all you can do is ‘deactivate’ your account.”
“In return I got exactly the same response as the one above. I wrote back to Facebook yet again, repeating that that their response was unacceptable, and that I was therefore going to take the three courses of action I outlined above. I registered complaints at both TRUSTe, the ICO and I also emailed Channel 4 News, explaining my story.”
“If Facebook has the ability to delete accounts so easily, why don’t they make it available to users? In their written response to C4 they say that “Facebook does not use any information from deactivated accounts for advertising purposes.” If that is the case, why do they retain the information at all? And although they aren’t using it for “advertising purposes”, are they making other use of it, and if so, what?”
“Facebook’s terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore. Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later.”
Why I’m deleting my Facebook account, 5th Febraury, 2008
“… in order to delete your Facebook account you have to not only deactivate it, but also delete every single item you have contributed to the site (messages, wall posts, posts other people have written on your wall, photos, links to contacts, profile information) and then email customer service and request they delete your account completely. Oh, and also, in order to delete absolutely everything, I’d also have to re-add every single one of the applications I’ve ever had installed, and then go through and remove the content, and then delete the applications again. Because when you delete an application, guess what? Your data is still stored there somewhere.”
BBC News Video, 18th February, 2009
Respected blogger Will McInnes discusses Facebook’s policy on holding on to personal data with the BBC’s Ben Brown.