Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

After Canadian Prodding, Facebook To Change Privacy Policy

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the but-it-was-a-polite-prodding dept.

Privacy 64

Retardical_Sam writes "Facebook has agreed to make changes to protect users' personal information on the social networking site, including the way data is accessed by third-party developers, Canada's privacy commissioner said Thursday. Canadian officials have been negotiating with Facebook since the Office of the Privacy Commissioner released a report a month ago that argued the social network breaches Canadian privacy law. Facebook agreed to make changes dealing with third-party applications like quizzes and games, deactivation of accounts, the personal identification of non-users and accounts of users who die."

cancel ×

64 comments

When pigs fly (2, Insightful)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220155)

I'll believe it when the changes are made. Facebook really doesn't like giving your rights back.

Re:When pigs fly (2, Insightful)

Torodung (31985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220401)

Facebook really doesn't like giving your rights back.

Especially when they have been handed over voluntarily. Jeez. It's not like they forced anyone to give up information. ;^)

--
Toro

Re:When pigs fly (4, Insightful)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220727)

No, but they did make people think their information would only be accessible by the friends they selected. False marketing much?

Re:When pigs fly (3, Interesting)

wsanders (114993) | more than 4 years ago | (#29223417)

Your information will only be visible by your friends, they fixed that. Except your picture will appear in *their* spam ads for penis enlargements and credit scams.

I don't do any Facebooks apps, and won't until their privacy settings are more fine grained than "yes" and "no".

Re:When pigs fly (2, Insightful)

Torodung (31985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29224213)

Not false anything according the TOS I read when I signed up. It disclaims any and all liability as a condition of normal site use. You may as well be signing up to be a citizen of Facebook.

You have to read the fine print. People are dumb that way, no matter how many times folks are told, everyone ignores the fine print from time to time. Some more than others.

This includes myself. Everyone is a willing participant in their own deception once in a while. Everybody plays the fool.

Caveat emptor is the first and only rule of the cloud. Your data is effectively not yours unless it is on a machine you own or control.

That's the only reasonable expectation until there is some law that says otherwise. It's about time that Congress realized that 50+ year old telcom laws do not cut it when all that communication can be stored permanently, for little to no money. It's a game changer.

New laws are needed. Until then, maybe we should stop it with the "Barney reflex." Sharing is not always good, or even wanted. We're raising a generation of idiots who can't keep their personal lives personal, and expect it to remain that way even as they broadcast their every thought on Twitter.

--
Toro

Re:When pigs fly (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 4 years ago | (#29225817)

New laws are needed.

New laws are apparently not needed in Canada; Facebook is making these changes because they've run afoul of the privacy laws in Canada.

Re:When pigs fly (1)

Torodung (31985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29234209)

Okay, wake up call.

New laws are needed everywhere. Data mining is out of control. We need a way for the private individual to guarantee and verify destruction of records he no longer wishes to be in another's control. The individual needs more rights of control over such records, and rights that are enforceable by take-down notices as powerful as in the DMCA, with accessible courts to arbitrate any conflicts. Facebook should be required by law to certify that they can completely destroy truly "personal" information when asked, not simply take it off-line.

That means that if someone's hosting private information, there should be no way for it to be crawled, bled out to third parties, accidentally retained through database replication, backups, etc.

The extreme end of this would be to hold it to HIPAA standards, but that would be silly.

But to some lesser standard, if they can't guarantee it, the site itself should be illegal. This is an exaggerated and harsh hard-line, but we should be thinking in these terms and moving rapidly towards that hard-line if we are serious about our privacy.

Either that, or we give up on the idea of privacy at all. It's already 85% illusory.

This means more regulations and L.E. infrastructure to deal with it. The L.E. infrastructure is coming either way. The only question is: Will it work to the benefit of individual rights, or to the benefit of government and corporate bureaucracies that generally wish to go on merrily and expediently while ignoring individual rights and privacy concerns outside their mission?

It's a brave new world.

We all need to bone up on our critical thinking skills, and that was my original point when I suggested that people who put anything on Facebook which they wish to remain "private" need to bone up on those skills.

What Canada has done here doesn't go far enough. No one has the laws to handle where this thing is going, and I'd like to see them before we get there.

I'm optimistic, but action is needed, and time is running out. If the legal status quo is held, the individual will be owned by the cloud in a century.

--
Toro

Re:When pigs fly (3, Informative)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29221215)

Or, you know, by your friend or total strangers who take a picture of you.

Re:When pigs fly (1)

Torodung (31985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29237363)

Best not let them steal your soul with those terrible black boxes then. ;^)

Legally and ethically, the picture is theirs to do with as they please for personal, non-commercial use. If a stranger takes your picture, and you really care that much, go Shaun Penn on their a$$.

We need new law. This photo warehousing is something new, not adequately covered by usual "control of likeness" or privacy laws.

Re:When pigs fly (2, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220495)

I've actually found they are very sensitive to their public image regarding privacy. They overstep lines all the time, but they quickly retreat once the media, facebook groups, and petitions get involved.

I think they realize if they ever overstep people's comfort levels, users can leave. Social network sites are a commodity - their only value is the users. If the savvy crowd jumps ship to a higher-quality site that promises better privacy, there is a chance their friends will follow. I would argue this is the only thing that could kill Facebook at this point, however unlikely it is.

Re:When pigs fly (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220657)

I would argue this is the only thing that could kill Facebook at this point, however unlikely it is.

Yes, but a man can dream...

Re:When pigs fly (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220837)

Most online "social network" sites kinda HAVE to be sensitive to their public image. People don't go visit social network websites that have a bad public image/reputation now, would they? That's just not cool...

Re:When pigs fly (1)

Gravitron 5000 (1621683) | more than 4 years ago | (#29221379)

Unless you market your social network to unsavory types that find your bad reputation alluring. Kind of like that guy with the motorbike in high school that got all the chicks.

Re:When pigs fly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29222091)

Kind of like that guy with the motorbike in high school that got all the chicks.

Stupid philandering motorbike stealing all the ladies. I bet he hated it as much as The Hoff hated KITT.

Re:When pigs fly (2, Interesting)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 4 years ago | (#29223495)

The way it is being reported on the TV news channels in Canada is that this is more of an informational change than a change in what facebook does (or what its third party apps do). That is, the changes from what it sounds like are more along the lines of making sure the users are better informed on where all your personal information, and that of your friends, etc is being sent, who is going to look at it and mine it and dice and slice it and use it and ... you get the picture. It doesn't sound like they are being told to stop doing anything. An example is that facebook will have to explicitly tell you that when you deactivate your account, your info doesn't go anywhere and is still retained on the facebook servers (and it doesn't mean they will show you porn or curse at you when you deactivate your account :) ). Stuff like that.

Will they make the changes globally? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220159)

Or will they wait for other countries to sue them? If so, who do I call in the US to ask them to sue?

Re:Will they make the changes globally? (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220203)

Who do I call in the US to ask them to sue?

Jackie Chiles, of course.

Re:Will they make the changes globally? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29220267)

Yeah that's going to be a problem. It's gonna be a problem for them. This a clear violation of your rights as a consumer. It's an infringement on your constitutional rights. It's outrageous, egregious, preposterous.

Re:Will they make the changes globally? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29220261)

You don't, wait for a Canadian to do it for you.

Re:Will they make the changes globally? (5, Informative)

manitoulinnerd (750941) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220281)

From the article:

'The company also said the changes will be rolled out worldwide because some of the concerns raised in Canada have also been raised by privacy watchdogs in other countries.'

Re:Will they make the changes globally? (1)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220341)

Mod parent up for actually reading FTA. :)

Re:Will they make the changes globally? (1)

Doggabone (1025394) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231011)

Mod parent up for actually reading FTA. :)

+1 Informed? ;)

Re:Will they make the changes globally? (5, Funny)

Garbad Ropedink (1542973) | more than 4 years ago | (#29221257)

What a radical idea. It'd have to come from a crazy place like Canada. 'Privacy'... What an odd concept. What's next? Universal healthcare?

Re:Will they make the changes globally? (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29229817)

No, no, it looks like the next item on the list is maple syrup.

Re:Will they make the changes globally? (1)

Doggabone (1025394) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231807)

No, no, it looks like the next item on the list is maple syrup.

We wouldn't take credit away from Benjamin Franklin. Nor for introducing the French to potatoes. http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/food/2009/07/03/ben-franklin-patriot-foodie/ [smithsonianmag.com] - I think lacrosse is the next thing on the national "to-do".

Permanent Deletion? Maybe? (4, Interesting)

meheler (193628) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220265)

Maybe now I can finally tell them to permanently delete my account from the databases. Maybe? I hope so..

Re:Permanent Deletion? Maybe? (1)

hey (83763) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220421)

I would like a way to clear all history from their database. Like the "Clear Now" button in Firefox.

Re:Permanent Deletion? Maybe? (3, Interesting)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220627)

The problem is that they've allowed third party developers to access your information, so their database probably isn't the only database that has your information anymore.

Re:Permanent Deletion? Maybe? (2, Informative)

minsk (805035) | more than 4 years ago | (#29221221)

and anything the other FB users saved, and anything their ISPs recorded, and on and on...

Of course, storing data received from the Facebook API for extended periods is a violation of their TOS [facebook.com] . As are all the forms of redistribution [facebook.com] people are paranoid about. And the applications *still* can't get more data than they could be having the installing users run a real application which spiders the FB pages.

So, *shrug*

Re:Permanent Deletion? Maybe? (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220593)

to permanently delete my account from the databases

There is NO WAY to be ever sure, even if you .... Facebook from orbit.

Re:Permanent Deletion? Maybe? (1)

Torodung (31985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29237419)

to permanently delete my account from the databases

There is NO WAY to be ever sure, even if you .... Facebook from orbit.

Like, "game over" man. ;^)

Facebook: Just like an "Alien" but without the second set of teeth.

--
Toro

But I like it this way! (5, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220373)

I like broadcasting all my personal info to all sorts of commercial interests. I like being exploited by the large faceless company.

Joking aside, I suspect this will have very little in the way of practical change. For example, according to TFA the changes will among other things "Prevent games, quizzes and other applications developed by third parties from accessing information until it obtains express consent for each category of personal information." Most users aren't going to think hard about this and will simply click through repeatedly. People almost never bother reading warnings or paying much attention to them. Technological change can't do much to deal with a population that either doesn't understand or doesn't care how vulnerable it is.

Re:But I like it this way! (2, Interesting)

minsk (805035) | more than 4 years ago | (#29221107)

Most users aren't going to think hard about this and will simply click through repeatedly.

That's my suspicion. However, the ability to run applications without compromising your own privacy might encourage some of us paranoid technical folks to stop avoiding them.

Anyone who is bothered by access from third-party applications installed by friends/network/etc either has already, or should have after the publicity, simply disabled it.

Re:But I like it this way! (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#29224233)

That's my suspicion. However, the ability to run applications without compromising your own privacy might encourage some of us paranoid technical folks to stop avoiding them.

Anyone who is bothered by access from third-party applications installed by friends/network/etc either has already, or should have after the publicity, simply disabled it.

What about privacy of your friends? Wasn't there already a quiz by the ACLU or someone that basically said "Look, this quiz can access your profile and the profiles of all your friends"?

Hell, if it did that much, it's worth it, considering everyone's got one of those people on their friend list.

Re:But I like it this way! (1)

minsk (805035) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230317)

Hell, if it did that much, it's worth it, considering everyone's got one of those people on their friend list.

That would be where this [facebook.com] bank of settings comes in.

Re:But I like it this way! (1)

Minozake (1227554) | more than 4 years ago | (#29221357)

Still, it is a step better. I personally would like a manifest of what all personal data an app takes. I'm just too lazy to not install it.

Re:But I like it this way! (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29223491)

Right, but at least those of us that do care won't be subjected to the same privacy violations.

Nuts! (0, Redundant)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220453)

Has Canada gotten so messed up that they actually believe the dead have privacy rights? If one slanders the dead do they spin in their graves? Perhaps we should send Viagra to the dead just in case they feel an urge.

Re:Nuts! (3, Informative)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220605)

From the news post:

Facebook agreed to make changes dealing with [...] accounts of users who die.

FTA:

Facebook has specifically agreed to: [...] Clarify in its privacy policy that it will retain a user's profile after the user dies so friends can post comments and pay tribute.

They didn't say they would protect the privacy of the dead, just that they would change the way they deal with people's profiles after they die.

Re:Nuts! (5, Insightful)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220711)

Has Canada gotten so messed up that they actually believe the dead have privacy rights?

Why not? Copyright doesn't expire on death so why should privacy?

Re:Nuts! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29222575)

I think you just explained the whole Mickey Mouse copyrights and frozen Walt Disney rumors.

Re:Nuts! (1)

youn (1516637) | more than 4 years ago | (#29223995)

Lol I believe copy-right does expire when you die (cant reproduce)... privacy seems to expire too eventually with archeologists digging prehistoric tombs :)

Re:Nuts! (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29224983)

Has Canada gotten so messed up that they actually believe the dead have privacy rights?

Why not? Copyright doesn't expire on death so why should privacy?

(I think you're using humour to make a point but...)

Because copyright attaches to the work whereas privacy rights attach to the individual?

I can't transfer my privacy rights to you so that you can exercise them instead of me, but I can transfer my copyright in something I created.

Re:Nuts! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29220881)

Has Canada gotten so messed up that they actually believe the dead have privacy rights? If one slanders the dead do they spin in their graves? Perhaps we should send Viagra to the dead just in case they feel an urge.

Yawn.....Canaduh is about as exciting as a graveyard anyway.

Re:Nuts! (1)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29222427)

You take that back, buddy!

Re:Nuts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29228399)

Yawn.....Canaduh is about as exciting as a graveyard anyway.

Ah, a fellow necrophiliac!

Let the negotians commence! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#29220825)

> Canadian officials have been negotiating with Facebook since the Office
> of the Privacy Commissioner released a report a month ago that argued
> the social network breaches Canadian privacy law.

Canadian Official: Ok, then. Let the negotiations commence. Now, you're violating our law. What are you going to do or else we punish you with fines?

Facebook: Nothing but a token slap on the wrist, or we cut off Canadians from "illegal" but popular Facebook, Mr. Official Whose Boss Ultimately Is An Elected Official Up For Re-Election In No More Than Four Years, Max.

Homer: "...so on and and so forth."

Which, by the way, is the correct way of things.

Re:Let the negotians commence! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29220961)

You're an idiot. You might want to look at how Canadian politics (in general) and the Privacy Commissioner (in specific) works before posting.

Which, by the way, is the correct way of things.

That's right - all corporations should have the right to disregard laws as they see fit!

Re:Let the negotians commence! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29222005)

If the market were truly free then absolutely. When a company breaks the law, the *ONLY* response should be the market disfavoring their products and they go out of business. You can tell someone who doesn't really understand economics because they have never read Atlas Shrugged.

Re:Let the negotians commence! (3, Informative)

hesiod (111176) | more than 4 years ago | (#29222437)

You can tell someone who doesn't really understand reality because they refer you to Atlas Shrugged.

Re:Let the negotians commence! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29223571)

You can tell someone who doesn't really understand economics because they have never read Atlas Shrugged.

No, you can tell someone who doesn't really understand economics because they believe in the Invisible Market Fairy.

Hint: the "free market" has been tried, and in every case, it lead to unprecedented abuse by corporations because they wield more power than individuals.

Re:Let the negotians commence! (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29226541)

When a company breaks the law, the *ONLY* response should be the market disfavoring their products and they go out of business

Oops we ignored the nuclear safety laws and not only do our workers all have cancer, and the core went critical, killing everyone around for a few miles, but the people wont buy our power any more!

Oh well. Name change and off to the next state.

Re:Let the negotians commence! (2, Interesting)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 4 years ago | (#29223409)

Canadian elections don't have to happen for up to five years. An indication that you don't like to think deeply about answers. :) Canada constitutes about 12 million facebook users. Not huge given that they have around a quarter billion users world wide, or so it is reported here in Canada. However it is enough to make a big enough dent in their profits so that change is easier than cutting off Canada from their services. Similar to how California, while having around 37 million people out of 330 million in the U.S. can still significantly influence products sold to all of the U.S. A good example is when they enact legislation mandating specific changes to say, car safety features, the auto makers don't stop selling to California. It is a big enough market that the car makers make the changes, since they are cheaper than not selling to California. It is the only reason that many safety and environmental changes made with respect to autos have been made in the U.S. Wow, a legit car example!

Fair trade (4, Insightful)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 4 years ago | (#29221229)

I'd happily give Facebook my name, address, social security number, and checking account information if they would only introduce a "HIDE ALL QUIZZES" feature.

God, I am so sick of logging into Facebook only to find the feed populated with stupid quizzes like "What type of garden tool are you?" The quizzes are far more annoying than the apps.

Re:Fair trade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29221931)

"What type of garden tool are you?"

Hoe

Re:Fair trade (3, Funny)

Gitcho (761501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29222561)

Please send me your full name, address, date of birth and the email address you used to register for our Garden Tool(tm) quiz and we will happily remove you from our mailing list!

Re:Fair trade (1)

Random Destruction (866027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29222879)

I'd happily give Facebook my name, address, social security number, and checking account information if they would only introduce a "HIDE ALL QUIZZES" feature.

If you have greasemonkey, just install the facebook purity [userscripts.org] script.

Please reply with your SIN and chequing info.

Re:Fair trade (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 4 years ago | (#29225411)

I'd happily give Facebook my name, address, social security number, and checking account information if they would only introduce a "HIDE ALL QUIZZES" feature.

God, I am so sick of logging into Facebook only to find the feed populated with stupid quizzes like "What type of garden tool are you?" The quizzes are far more annoying than the apps.

Check out Facebook Purity [userscripts.org] . It works with the vast majority of such things, and even tells you how many it's hidden and lets you toggle them back. I think the author page has an email address where you can send your social and checking account info if you dig it. Paired with Facebook Highlights Remove [userscripts.org] , you end up with a pretty tidy home page.

Blame Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29222489)

I'm sure I talk for all Canadians, because of course our country is so small that everybody knows everyone, when I say "we're sorry, eh".

Re:Blame Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29222969)

Way to grammar.

You must be from Alberta.

RFID too (5, Interesting)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 4 years ago | (#29222973)

Another issue the privacy commissioner is dealing with will likely bring a smile to the /.'s here: the absolute pants security of RFID systems in travel documents.

The problem came to a head because the DHS in the states demanded that border-crossing documents have RFID devices with biometrics in them. We used to be able to use our driver's licenses, but now we need a passport. They wanted that flexibility back, because it's so much less hassle to get a license than a passport, so the Ontario DOT agreed to add the RFID to the new driver's licenses. It's going to be phased in, but unless you want the rubber-glove treatment, you'll want one sooner rather than later.

Everyone's been complaining about the security of these systems, but it fell on deaf ears. Until the Ontario commissioner got involved, that is. After brick-walling against the DHS she then got the Ontario DOT to issue RFID-proof wrappers with the cards. She admits they're less than ideal, thought.

The longer term solution that she wants to implement is a portion of the card that acts as a capacitive switch, only turning on the RFID when you hold it. They'll put one on the corner of the card, with a little graphic saying "hold here while reading". When it's in your pocket the RFID will be dead, so surreptitious scanning is difficult, or impossible. I thought this was a particularly elegant solution.

they keep your data indefinitely. (1)

jeffstar (134407) | more than 4 years ago | (#29225765)

While the privacy commissioner's office had recommended in its report that Facebook have a retention policy specifying how long it will keep information after a user has deactivated his or her account before deleting the information, the office eventually agreed to let Facebook keep the information indefinitely. Denham said Facebook's agreement to provide clarity about the issue is acceptable and in compliance with Canadian law.

Sooooo I guess even deleting your account they still get to keep all your information, pictures, etc.

That is unfortunate and a little unsettling that the information and pictures I have deleted they still own.

I can't believe the govt. backed down on that, it was what I was most looking forward to.

Good to see privacy advocates busy... (0, Troll)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#29226325)

Too bad, they don't seem to find any time for the major invasion of privacy by the government [cbsnews.com] , that may well become law, if efforts to derail "Obamacare" fail...

One can simply not sign-up with Facebook, but "opting out" of national-socialist health care will be impossible... And yet, the ACLU and EFF are silent — are they, perhaps, being partisan and rooting for the proposal to succeed, privacy be damned? Well, ACLU are busy helping America's enemies [yahoo.com] identify Americans, who fought them. But EFF? The threat I'm talking about — sharing of income and medical data electronically between State and Federal government agencies — is right up their valley...

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...