[Air-L] Fwd: Facebook data destruction

Nick White air-l at njw.me.uk
Thu Mar 18 07:42:49 PDT 2010

On Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 08:32:41AM -0500, Michael Zimmer wrote:
> I'm not surprised that Facebook has requested this action. But contrary to Warden's quote, I see a difference between the data being _available_ to commercial firms (which he means crawlable by search engine spiders, if I'm reading the post correctly), and having it _released en masse_ to the public in an easily digestible form.  
> Given the threat of a lawsuit, it appears that the former is allowed by Facebook's TOS, but the latter is not. And, clearly, there is the problem of taking the information outside of its intended context once you aggregate it and release it to the public, as I previously detailed here: 
> "Why Pete Warden Should Not Release Profile Data on 215 Million Facebook Users"
> http://michaelzimmer.org/2010/02/12/why-pete-warden-should-not-release-profile-data-on-215-million-facebook-users/

While crawling public information for a generic search engine may 
not violate a sense of contextual integrity, that isn't the only 
other use of such data. A couple of examples could be a firm using 
facebook mining to build up / improve a profile of me to sell to 
others, or a government using the information to broaden a database 
on citizen's political leanings. Those certainly go beyond the
expectations of usage of a lot of users of facebook.

At present this sort of information is available to anyone with the 
resources to gather it (which aren't enormous). Of course, even if 
facebook tightens this up in the future, they're keen to sell plenty 
of personal information to others (which doesn't seem to be well 
understood among users I've spoken to), which does weaken the 
argument that they have an obligation to reconsider how/what public 
information is published.

Nick White

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