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Facebook: Your Personal Data is a Trade Secret

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the who-owns-you? dept.

Cloud 203

An anonymous reader writes "An Austrian group called Europe versus Facebook has so far made 22 complaints regarding the social network's practices. In the process, the organization has stumbled upon an important tidbit: Facebook says it is not required to give you a copy of some of your personal data if it deems doing so would adversely affect its trade secrets or intellectual property."

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203 comments

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Shock Horror (5, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696958)

Of course they'll tell you that. In fact, haven't you realised? You ARE their intellectual property. All you iSheep, Twits and FacePalmers. Go on, put your private life on teh intertubes for all to see. Check in with FourSquare to become the mayor of burger king to get a 10% discount on your next piece of crap for lunch, and watch your insurance company make a silent note. Write on your wall about your cool new Nike Football shoes, and watch targeted advertising appear to you for other football related products.

The herd is a goldmine, ripe for the picking.

Re:Shock Horror (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696982)

iSheep? really? How um ... is it emo or goth...?

Get over yourself. Your data by itself is fairly useless. It is the 20 million all together the data is any good. It is called trend analysis.

Re:Shock Horror (2, Interesting)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697006)

Keep on drinking the Kool-Aid then chum. It starts with the anonymous herd, and ends with the individual when they become interesting. How much do you think your soon to be ex-wife's divorce lawyer would like to pay to get you fully profiled and sniff out any dirt on you? Of course it can be done via conventional means, it's just much quicker and more efficient online.

Re:Shock Horror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697106)

Divorce lawyer?

Dude, there's more .. we've all seen the stories about how employers, law enforcement, and spy agencies are using online profiles to dig up dirt on people.

And even if you're really clean or square, it doesn't take much for someone to put 2+2 together and come up with 5 or 6 or 10.

Let's face it, there are a lot of bigots out there - I'm one of them. If I see on your profile that you're a Mormon or Born Again Christian - I don't want to have anything to do with you nor do I want to hire you. Against the law? Sorry, you don't have the skills for the job. It never had anything to do with your religious preferences.

Pastafarians Rule - as long as you believe that Lasagna was THE profit to save us!

Re:Shock Horror (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697372)

And with such information easily available, employers are even depending on it and starting to thumb their noses at wiseass technophobes that know better than to whore themselves out to social networks.

Re:Shock Horror (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696994)

WOW someone pissed in your cornflakes. I'll admit most people don't realize they ARE the product and NOT the consumer, but seriously to each their fucking own. Go crawl into your hole.

Re:Shock Horror (2)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697122)

Heck, if you post publicly, you're everyone's intellectual property. At least you know Facebook is keeping info, but how many others are scraping Facebook and collecting info, and you don't even know?

Re:Shock Horror (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698336)

They don't have to scrape Facebook to get your info. For the right price, Facebook lets them peek under the covers...

Re:Shock Horror (5, Funny)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697176)

All you iSheep, Twits and FacePalmers.

He says, on a public web forum.

Re:Shock Horror (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697430)

Indeed, although there is not much personal information on Slashdot. The problem is not that people have public lives, it is that Facebook greatly expands the scope of what is "public" while greatly diminishing the scope of what is "private." The information Facebook collects is much broader in scope than Slashdot, and extends beyond what people actively post on Facebook.

There is also the matter that supposedly private messages on Facebook are not really private at all, a classic case of the "third party server" problem. Unlike email, for which there are well-developed (but rarely used) methods of keeping private messages private, Facebook is designed to thwart such efforts (e.g. to encrypt an email, I can just hit a checkbox, assuming keys have been set up; to encrypt a Facebook message, I have to manually invoke a cryptosystem, copy and paste, and so forth -- a pain even for technically competent users). For most people, the "privacy" issue on Facebook is related to what their friends, coworkers, and potential future contacts can see -- very few people give any thought to the amount of information that Facebook itself has, and for many Facebook has become the primary means of communication.

Re:Shock Horror (2, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698226)

The problem is not that people have public lives, it is that the INTERNET greatly expands the scope of what is "public" while greatly diminishing the scope of what is "private.

FTFY

Re:Shock Horror (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697648)

Go ahead, neckbeards... post that slashdot comment. Watch targeted advertising appear to you for server products and cloud services.

The nerdhive is a goldmine, ripe for the picking.

Re:Shock Horror (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37698072)

Who you callin' "neckbeard", Elf Lord?

Re:Shock Horror (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697262)

And you wonder why the average person dismisses you Oh My Privacy! people as lunatics?

Re:Shock Horror (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697346)

Write on your wall about your cool new Nike Football shoes, and watch targeted advertising appear to you for other football related products.

Why is this bad? I'd rather see ads for things I like and might consider buying than scattershot ads for shit I'd never use.

Check in with FourSquare to become the mayor of burger king to get a 10% discount on your next piece of crap for lunch, and watch your insurance company make a silent note.

Why is this bad? I eat healthy, and am healthier for it. Why should I have to subsidize the lard-asses who eat at BK every day?

You ARE their intellectual property.

Now that's just scary-sounding gibberish.

All you iSheep, Twits and FacePalmers.

You seem to be fond of insulting labels. Here's some for you: paranoid, arrogant, condescending.

And for the record, I don't use Apple products, or Twitter, or Facebook. But that's because I don't want to, not because I'm afraid that they'll find out about my super-secret love of oatmeal.

Re:Shock Horror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37698192)

But on one day the FBI stands in your bedroom with a swat team to take you to an undisclosed location for questioning because you just happen to fit a profile they have compiled based on messages and personal information you so happily provided to Facebook.
You just happen to have a middle-eastern sounding name and mentioned that "Nike's new shoes are tha bomb and it will be an explosive summer for trends like these".

Re:Shock Horror (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698518)

Why is this bad? I'd rather see ads for things I like and might consider buying than scattershot ads for shit I'd never use.

If only it were actually that good. Every time I see an ad for a company whose products compete with products made by my employer (that I thus almost certainly wouldn't even consider buying), I conclude that they must not be doing much more than a trivial keyword search (and they know who my employer is, so that's just a Facepalm right there).

And as that satellite fell out of orbit a couple of weeks ago, I was summarizing a bunch of random Twitter feeds and news reports on my Facebook feed. As a result, I was seeing all sorts of bizarre ads related to all the cities that I mentioned, like "Travel to Hawaii", followed by "Travel to Ontario".... Completely and totally out to lunch.

Of course, if you asked me what kinds of products I buy more than once in any given year, you'd get the following list:

  • Frozen food
  • Restaurant food
  • Milk
  • Hot cocoa mix
  • Cashews
  • Chocolate
  • Clothing (some years)
  • Shoes (some years)
  • Books
  • Movies
  • Spare hard drives
  • Flash drives (some years)
  • DV tapes (some years)
  • Camera-related gear
  • Audio-related gear
  • Gasoline
  • Copy paper

And that would be the end of the list. If you're advertising anything that's not on that list, it's noise. Given that (with the exception of movies) almost none of the products on the list are regularly advertised on pretty much any website, web advertisements rarely have any real impact on my buying habits. Then again, as the sort of person who will spend three hours browsing Amazon reviews before buying a blender, and the sort of person who mostly buys twentieth-run movies from the $5.99 bin instead of new releases, I'm not sure they'd affect me much even if they covered the products I buy regularly.

The kind of advertisement that does affect me, if you can call it that, is word-of-mouth advertisement. Specifically, if you make a good product, and people give it consistently good reviews, I'm more likely to buy your product. If you make a s**tty product that falls apart in six months, I'm more likely to call up a manufacturer in China and go into business against you (which isn't very likely to happen at all, but is still a heck of a lot more likely than me buying your junk product).

In the end, most advertising involves trying to trick people into buying products that they don't need, that don't do what they want, solely because somebody gave them the idea. With the exception of commodity products, it has minimal real-world impact on intelligent buyers except to make somebody aware of a product that they otherwise would not have known about.

The ad makes customers aware of the existence of new products, which means potential customers think, "I know a product that does that," when they need to do something. The problem is that most conscientious consumers then go and search Amazon to find the best product in that category, which basically means that your ad didn't buy you a sale; it bought the industry a sale, maybe, assuming that the person would not have done that search without the ad (which is probably not a valid assumption in most cases).

At least Amazon's "People who bought this also bought" feature actually does a passable job at identifying things that might be interesting to me. It has the advantage of actually knowing the things that I buy. A website like Facebook basically has no prayer.

Re:Shock Horror (0)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697404)

Best post ever.

Re:Shock Horror (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697474)

At least we're not bitter bitches like you. LOLZZ!!!!
 
Seriously dude. Go fuck yourself. I don't give a fuck what you think, you stupid bitch.

Re:Shock Horror (0)

wmac1 (2478314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697842)

Brave anonymous coward, is that you?

Re:Shock Horror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37698174)

Because we all know your real name is wmac1, numbnuts.

Re:Shock Horror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697546)

Jesus. There's a reason people put their information online: They don't care who sees it. This isn't some evil hidden plan of FB's. It's out there in broad daylight waving its arms around screaming. Not everyone values their privacy as much as you do. If you don't like the control you'd be giving FB by using it, then don't use it.

Re:Shock Horror (0)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697556)

Don't waste your time explaining it. Let 'em post. Let 'em get facefucked.

Interesting (4, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696966)

So you, by definition, have knowledge of all of you personal information (otherwise it wouldn't be personal), they must think that they have a way of turning knowledge about your self that is available to you consciously, into information that isn't, for example by analyzing your web history, or use of language, or friends, in order to predict certain cultural preferences, or ad susceptibility. That's perfectly believable, and no, you probably aren't entitled to it. If you don't want them building models of you, don't submit your information.

Re:Interesting (4, Interesting)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696996)

It might even be more fun than that. Maybe they know things about you that you never told them, like your gender or age. I would also tend to believe that if they're able to figure out this information about people they're probably entitled to keep the fact of their knowing secret.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697178)

They seem to have a back door agreement with Hotmail to get my and others' personal info*, so it's quite likely they have a bunch of other such deals and information that users never consented to them having.

*The only other option would be that literally everyone that ever mailed me at my Hotmail account consented to have their email account searched by Facebook, while the people who emailed me at my gmail account did not.

Re:Interesting (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697356)

I think it must go further than that. A coworker today was wondering why Facebook recommended as a friend a person that we recognise the name of from within our company, but in an overseas branch. They have no Facebook friends in common. He's never sent or received mail from her on a personal account (he's obviously signed up to Facebook on one of those accounts), never given Facebook any clue as to his work email or even the place he works. I was thinking there must be a simple explanation, but maybe there are more devious things afoot, like scanning Hotmail contacts when the friend finder is used, and linking together two people from someone else's Hotmail account?

Re:Interesting (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697432)

Maybe they've both listed the same company as a workplace. Unlikely, but possible.

Re:Interesting (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697440)

Yeah, OK, I'll read the entire post next time. (Didn't list place of work or employer.)

Re:Interesting (4, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697438)

. A coworker today was wondering why Facebook recommended as a friend a person that we recognise the name of from within our company, but in an overseas branch.

I've got a better one: A colleague who has a facebook account but has never posted anything, not a photo, not even information in the profile got a recommendation from Facebook to add as a friend someone who is in her cancer survivor's group. The absolutely only bit of information about her that she's been able to find on Facebook is a photograph from a different friend's profile in which she appears but is not named in the photo's info. As I said, she has never posted anything about herself and the person who was recommended to her is not the facebook friend of a facebook friend.

Wrap your head around that one. Now maybe there's some bit of data she forgot about or some connection she has been unable to learn, but she's really a detail-oriented person and has just not been able to determine how this connection was made.

Either way, it's creepy as hell and she deleted her account, although she has no misconceptions that anything collected about her has been deleted. I guess you would say she "closed" her account because it does not appear that Facebook ever willingly relents a scrap of info.

My suggestion? Back out slowly, don't try to delete your account. Change your name, get facial reconstruction and move far away.

I never really liked it much, but I just won't touch that shit any more. I hate to sound like an eccentric old crank but I've been writing letters a lot more lately. I don't even let my eyes linger on the Facebook icon on any webpages I read.

Re:Interesting (2)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697576)

personal information isn't just what you personally divulge. if someone mentions your name in a facebook/twitter/slashdot post (even if someone else sharing the same name), you may be automatically associated with that person (and you may have no idea you were even mentioned anywhere), so even the facephobes may be profiled without their knowing. you don't even need a facebook account. web crawling is all just associative data. though i bet google has bigger treasure troves of this data than facebook.

Re:Interesting (1)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698302)

Facebook knows who all my friends are, and I don't even have an account. I suppose I count as a "facephobe", though I'd like to think of it more as possessing uncommon sense.

Re:Interesting (1)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698314)

The simplest "people you may know" method is to mine people's contacts when they voluntarily upload them (email, phone, IM, etc.) in a "find my friends" flow. Most of the "holy crap it's my decade-ago ex-girlfriend" style shocks I get are because they still have me in an address book somewhere and they shared it.

Re:Interesting (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697806)

People like to imagine facebook as another google. Some crazy machine conciousness that is beyond our human understanding. Facebook is actually kind of retarded. It's only after you give it something to work with that the stalker algorithms get to work.

Remember, facebook not only mines your contact book but everything you ever say and who you said it to. If it isn't a contact list being linked somewhere, it is the people you are talking to.

I have a dozen or so facebook accounts, and none of of them have ever tried to connect to each other or anything like the stories I hear from other people. And they don't mention usernames or email addresses. Facebook has no voodoo. It's basically fucking clueless if you don't feed it data.

Re:Interesting (1)

creigs (1994068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698144)

Every web page that has a FB 'like" button or other FB gizmo is automatically recording that you visited that page in FB's data bank. That could solve some of the mysteries of why FB recommends certain friends who haven't even filled out their FB profiles -- you both probably visited the same unusual web pages, and have a few other things in common like location (FB could get it from your IP address if not from your profile). FB can do this whether or not you have a FB account and have agreed to FB's privacy policy. Considering the FB javascript code is embedded into other web pages, I'm not sure that they cannot see the data you enter into all the forms as well. What a goldmine of information that would be!!! You could clean out your FB cookies after every web site you visit, so you look like a new person to keep FB from correlating all the pages you visit and form data you fill out (assuming they don't correlate by your IP address alone). Better, you can get a plug-in that blocks anything from FB from loading into other web site's pages until you give it permission (e.g. Request Policy for FF) Or you can just accept that FB knows just about everything you do on the web, since just about every significant web site promotes itself by having an associated FB page they want you to "like". (As a webmaster, I've decided to take the lead from some German web sites, and disable the FB "like" button in my website until a person clicks on a button to enable it. And it's permanently disabled on any page where the user can enter personal information.)

Re:Interesting (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698540)

Perhaps they didn't make their employer public information, but did enter it at some point.

Re:Interesting (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697230)

If they are adding that as information about "you" to the folks they sell your information to, you should be entitled to get it under a request of "what information about me do you have" - not a "what information have I given to you about me, minus all the other stuff you worked out on your own...".

However, I can also see that giving all that information may well end up opening an interesting kettle of fish. What if one of their derived bits of information about you were that you were a white supremacist? What if they worked out that you were interested in cross dressing? What if you wanted to keep both of these facts very very secret - I mean a white supremacist cross dresser?

Re:Interesting (2)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697266)

Well there was J Edgar Hoover, wasn't he into cross dressing? And he was definitely very right wing...

Re:Interesting (2)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697236)

Maybe they know much more via syndication with other networks.

Re:Interesting (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697414)

Genderizing datasets isn't a difficult thing to do. Just ask anyone using DataFlux.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697428)

Just throw them off their guard, I say. Post a long and insightful (original words preferable) messages praising Fox news one day and MSNBC few hours later. Mix and match, lather, rinse and repeat. By end of a quarter, be seen to them as a love child of Murdoch and Assange. That will teach them.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697010)

I have a witty and interesting reply to your comment, but I decided you weren't entitled to it.

Go fish.

Re:Interesting (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697258)

After reading (well, skimming anyways) TFA, I really feel I should point out Facebook didn't say in TFA that the personal information was a trade secret, only that it would be an exception if it was. Possibly, they omitted information under the other exception, which is if it is exceptionally difficult to provide the information, and only gave both exceptions for maximum ass-coverage (and tinfoil-hat coverage too, apparently).

It wouldn't surprise me at all if they had more information than you gave them (such as from web tracking) which they don't give out, but TFA mentions data that he knew should have been there that wasn't. This leads me to suspect that this falls under the latter exception, for some reason. There really isn't enough information to know whether Facebook actually considers your data a trade secret (they don't even mention what the data was that Facebook omitted.)

Re:Interesting (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697460)

If you don't want them building models of you, don't submit your information.

How many people are willing to stand up to their friends and say, "No, I am not on Facebook, please send me an email if you want to invite me to an event?" How many people are knowledgeable enough to take the time to set up ABP and NoScript, or to configure the equivalent in their browser of choice? The problem with not participating in Facebook is that it is spread out all over the web, large numbers of people use it as their primary means of communicating, and many people simply assume that everyone in their social circle is on Facebook.

Really, Facebook is entitled to its trade secrets: the algorithms that it uses to compile their profile of you (which is definitely not what most people think of as their "Facebook profile"). Why should the results of those algorithms be considered trade secrets, and why should the people whose lives were analyzed not be entitled to know what the results of the analysis are?

Please let the EU do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696978)

They'll get into a pissing contest and the EU will shut them down after fining them a massive amount of money. It'll only work for EU residents mind you. UK residents can use the data protection act to demand all data about them to be handed over for a nominal fee.

Re:Please let the EU do this (2)

BlueScreenO'Life (1813666) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697780)

That is true for companies with which you have a contract that involves sending them personal information.

Whether Facebook and others like Google, Microsoft, etc. are bound by the DPD remains to be seen. They are not from a EU country and they did not sign a contract with you - I don't think there's an official client-provider relation between their users (especially their EU users) and them. Some court might try to force them to hand over the data on account of national laws but that's open to interpretation. It would be interesting to see how that would work out though.

Remember... (5, Insightful)

LqdSlpStrm (464344) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696984)

If it is free, you are not the client. You are the product, and you are being sold.

Re:Remember... (1, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697366)

Please stop this stupid meme. You are the customer. You buy a service and pay with information and by looking at ads. They sell this information and ad space to third parties for money. Those third parties are also customers. The product is the service, since that is what they are producing.

Re:Remember... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697452)

Yep. You are also paying by making their service more valuable to other users via the network effect.

Re:Remember... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697496)

Thus explaining why they track people on other websites.

Re:Remember... (5, Insightful)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697926)

I'll drop the meme when they stop treating me like a product.

Re:Remember... (0)

cyberstealth1024 (860459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698204)

+1 Insightful (sorry, I don't have "real" mod points)

Re:Remember... (1)

savuporo (658486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698048)

I think you are severely deluding yourself if you seriously think that all the "harm" that ever comes from fb obsessively tracking you, is targeted ads.

Re:Remember... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37698224)

That's like saying that a cows are customers of dairy farmers because they buy the food and a place to live and pay with their milk.

Re:Remember... (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698222)

Not really. Just like with a client, they have to keep you satisfied, otherwise you'll stop dealing with them, and they'll get no money.

Re:Remember... (1)

cjc25 (1961486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698504)

While they do need to keep you satisfied, it's only because you're a new type of product that isn't mined or manufactured, but attracted with useful or at least enjoyable timesinks. You're still the product, even if their method of obtaining the product doesn't have analog in the physical world.

Re:Remember... (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698238)

Certainly in the US not all personal data is legally available to the consumer. The data collected by credit agencies must be disclosed, but in my experience the score the consumer gets is not the same as the score the retailer gets. The retailer is the customer, while the consumer is simply a drain on profits.

Millions of people are willing to give retailers personal data in exchange for a discount off inflated prices. The customer in retailer is quickly becoming the firms that buy data. I wonder how much a place like krogers makes of sales of good and how much they make off sales of data. I dare say the later may be the greater.

The piper must be paid, and if the consumer is not paying it, then someone must be paying to derive some advantage from the consumer. Google does not give apps away for the simple sake of "do no evil". Facebook has to make money somehow, and the proprietary data analysis is going to be it or there will be no facebook because the kids aren't going to pay $5 a month for a digital wall. That is why AOL is no longer the biggest ISP. The value of online services to consumers are essentially zero. So when I see something like this I see it as an attack to kill facebook, which is not bad, I don't use and see little value in it, but it seems kind of a childish thing to do. Facebook is likely doing no more harm than TV or video games.

This actually makes some sense. (2)

LordArgon (1683588) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697012)

Whether good or bad, the type and structure of the data stored can definitely hint at the proprietary stuff they're doing with it.

Re:This actually makes some sense. (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697494)

GOAT FUCKING thatis what they are doing, that is what all Italians and their mental sleweves do because they are Italian and a Menace to our God and our American Democratic andFreeWay of Life and our Gord. Slashedort is stuipd sometimsd.

Correct (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697044)

Facebook: Your Personal Data is a Trade Secret

I agree 100%, which is why I refuse to give my personal data to Facebook (or anyone else).

Re:Correct (1)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697132)

Facebook: Your Personal Data is a Trade Secret

I agree 100%, which is why I refuse to give my personal data to Facebook (or anyone else).

Not to be trollish, but:

Do you use a bank? Checks? Credit Card? Discount Card? Have a job? Have an SSN? (if U.S.) Have a visa? Have a house? Have a line of credit? Use Google? Use Hotmail? Use Windows? Mac? Linux? Breathe?

Surprise. It's out there.

Re:Correct (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697160)

Bank? Yes. Checks? Haven't written one for the past 4 years. Credit card? Yes I have 3. Discount card? No. Job? Self employed. SSN? Nope, not in the US. Visa? Nope, I'm Canadian so I don't need one for the US. House? I own corporations that own houses. The corporations were originally created with third parties as shareholders and I ended up buying all the shares privately. My annual general meetings are very short. Line of credit? Nope, don't need it. Google? Yeah I use the search engine. Hotmail? For non important stuff like website memberships. I have a couple domains and my "real" emails are there. Others I make and delete on demand. I use Windows and Linux. I use pseudonyms and never give the OS my real name.

How much is out there, really?

Re:Correct (1)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697198)

Well, to be a semantic ass, you ARE making the decision to not give your private data out to anyone else... But that doesn't mean that your bank or card issuer, etc. hasn't passed it themselves part of an advertising agreement with FB. (not saying there IS, but would it shock anyone?)

Problem is, I'm certain we all know it, but simply can't do much about it, legally.

Just saying.

Re:Correct (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697252)

How do you have 3 credit cards but no line of credit?

Re:Correct (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697296)

Much much more than you would suspect. Any friends who use Facebook? Are there records of the corporations you bought and own (sweet gig there, BTW)? And of course, all your credit info from the cards is available (online from credit report sites). Also, I imagine you have a drivers license (not sure how info from that woks in Canada, though)

Now, this info isn't necessarily available entirely or easily to most people. But to major companies? Hell yeah. Even the houses could be traced back to you pretty easily. Unless you are deliberately staying off the radar using shell companies and the like, which is a lot of work and rarely worth it unless you are either insanely rich, insanely paranoid, or insanely criminal (bonus points for all three), companies will almost certainly have quite a lot on you.

Re:Correct (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697508)

Funny I keep googling myself and nothing ever turns up. Except an address I lived at in Texas for 5 months about 6 years ago. I guess it was either the power or cable company that "turned me in".

Re:Correct (1)

savuporo (658486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698068)

Hi, im Google spider. I just made a note of the fact that you keep googling yourself. Thanks.

Re:Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697420)

House? I own corporations that own houses. The corporations were originally created with third parties as shareholders and I ended up buying all the shares privately.

Land ownership records are public, as are corporate ownership & corporate officer records (in Canada and many other countries).

Re:Correct (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697486)

Yup. Find the country.

Do not piss off the Austrians. (-1, Offtopic)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697086)

They've got little mustachioed corporals and big bodybuilder-looking robots. Even Facebook may be out of its league on this one.

Re:Do not piss off the Austrians. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697180)

...and they make good barbecued shrimp.

Frank Zappa had incredible foresight (2)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697128)

He was originally talking about television but it applies to Facebook as well:

...Your mind is totally controlled
It has been stuffed into my mold
And you will do as you are told
Until the rights to you are sold...

Res ipsa loquitur (1)

Killer Instinct (851436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697164)

Res ipsa loquitur [wikipedia.org] "... the elements of duty of care and breach can be sometimes inferred from the very nature of an accident or other outcome, even without direct evidence of how any defendant behaved..." i.e you made an account, gave them all your info, added friends who gave them even more info about you...so by "accident" you breached and transfered any info about you to them, without neccesarily knowing you were signing away your right to privacy with your life,so even though they dont have the direct evidence you intended this to happen, it is their data none the less.

Fact-free learning (1)

gonz (13914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697248)

Minor rearrangements of existing facts can be considered to be innovative new facts.

Consider this cool paper from Aragones et al:

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=643545 [ssrn.com]

Quantity (2)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697276)

It could be that the quantity of data they collect is far more than anyone suspects and that's the trade secret.

Hahahahahaa. capitalism in ultimate form. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697312)

Now, your private information is THEIR property. The ownership of YOUR own private information, is lost.

Re:Hahahahahaa. capitalism in ultimate form. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697772)

yeah well, in socialism, you don't have property either, the stat...err the people, excuse me, own everything.

Re:Hahahahahaa. capitalism in ultimate form. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697856)

But don't go sharing music now, that's still clearly *their* property.

So let's see how the rules work.....

What's mine is theirs, and what's theirs is theirs.

That wasn't too hard now was it?

communist solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697316)

NATIONALIZE THE INTERNET. its a commons. free government paid for social networking, privacy protection written into the constitution, national constitutions amended to include the right to access to the internet. think about it. we dont have private roads, and most of the privatization recently has really sucked. start reversing privatization. people act like facebook is a free government service, so lets turn it into one.

Re:communist solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697362)

Yeah sure, let's hand it over to the Yanks. That wouldn't cause any problems for the rest of the world....

Re:communist solution (1)

spazzmo (743767) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698150)

As far as the Yanks are concerned, they already think they own the whole world and everyone in it.

Trade Secrets are easily broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697364)

Are they not? IIRC, the one claiming it's a trade secret must work to keep it secret, and if it's data that *I* know, since I am not bound by an yagreement to FB to keep it secret, doesn't that mean they have lost the secrecy needed to make it a Trade "Secret"?

Facebook vs. Scientology (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697532)

I am curious to see what would happen if somebody posted a Scientology text on Facebook. I doubt Scientologists would accept the text being 'deactivated' but kept in Facebook's servers.

Laws to be written (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697562)

Facebook has a legitimate interest in keeping their trade secrets secret. Unfortunately for them, the interest of the public of knowing what information they are keeping and potentially selling about each of us completely trumps their trade secret interests in any sane world.

Are we on the way... (1)

noelhenson (691861) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697612)

to Asimov's psychohistory?

OK, everybody place a legal notice in the paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697714)

Two can play at this game. Everybody place a legal notice in the paper that does essentially the same thing, except that you are simply claiming your own personal data. State that your data may not be used without a contract and payment subject to negotiation, and that you regard unsigned agreements as invalid. It may or may not stand up in court, but it'll be a helluva good show.

Re:OK, everybody place a legal notice in the paper (2)

ad454 (325846) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697916)

Two can play at this game. Everybody place a legal notice in the paper that does essentially the same thing, except that you are simply claiming your own personal data. State that your data may not be used without a contract and payment subject to negotiation, and that you regard unsigned agreements as invalid. It may or may not stand up in court, but it'll be a helluva good show.

That won't work for adults since they can claim that as the owner of your personal data, you automatically give them a licence to use your data when you agreed to use their services. It might work for minors, since in many countries, minors are not allowed to sign contracts or give up rights, without parents' permission.

For adults, one can formally sign the complete rights to their personal information to a trusted individual (like a parent) or organization, before joining any social network service. Then have the trusted entity sue the social network service when they use your personal data without permission.

Of course if that trusted entity decides to "DO EVIL", then you will be total screwed.

Re:OK, everybody place a legal notice in the paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697962)

Can you form a cheap LLC someplace and sign it over to that?

Money!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697790)

I'm gonna send facebook an invoice for knowing my personal data! It's obviously worth money.

Whats a life worth anyway.. What about a geeks life?

Like I have said before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37697908)

Facebook for youngsters in college, in high school, middle school, etc. These groups do not know what the hell they are doing. There should be awareness made these educational levels to tell this bunch of kids to learn to protect themselves, friends, family members from one common enemy -- FACEBOOK.

Re:Like I have said before (1)

moozey (2437812) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698322)

You'd be surprised how many 30+ year old's use it. If anything, they'll be the more ignorant internet users.

Facebook is a business (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37697978)

Unlike some governments, businesses are not subject to "Freedom of Information" queries.

Nor do you have any "rights" other than those set out in the terms of service, other than the right to refuse those terms and go elsewhere.

Surely these Austrians aren't naive enough to think they're going to shove their laws down an international organization's throat? If they object that strongly, try to have Facebook blocked and banned from Austria. That is and should be their only legal recourse -- you cannot have international organizations subject to the whims of every nation in the world that the internet reaches.

Granted, some organizations may capitulate to pressure from some governments rather than lose that audience/revenue stream, but that's their choice, and they can just as easily pull their operations as Google did with China.

Re:Facebook is a business (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37698260)

Surely these Austrians aren't naive enough to think they're going to shove their laws down an international organization's throat? If they object that strongly, try to have Facebook blocked and banned from Austria. That is and should be their only legal recourse -- you cannot have international organizations subject to the whims of every nation in the world that the internet reaches.

Yes and no. What you are saying sounds dangerously close to claiming Facebook is completely above the law (of every country) and can do whatever the fuck it likes just because it is multinational. Unless we establish a planet wide government (which is a bad idea anyway), I don't think corporate immunity to prosecution in all jurisdictions is a good idea.

BTW, companies are usually subject to the laws of countries that it chooses to do business in. IANAL, but Facebook could have just made "Country" a mandatory field when signing up and rejecting anyone who selects "Austria". Sure, you can get around that easily but it shows intent to not operate in that jurisdiction.

Nor do you have any "rights" other than those set out in the terms of service, other than the right to refuse those terms and go elsewhere.

Also, corporations are legal constructs, they exist because the government says they do and accepts paperwork applying to create one. This means that you can, and in many countries [other than the US perhaps], do have rights (typically called "consumer protection"), there are also privacy laws which may give you the right to demand a company delete everything they know about you and require explicit permission to sell to 3rd parties, etc. Most interactions with companies outside of a one-shot purchase will also use contract law which also includes protections against 'unfairness' and such. [Try including "you accept to allow us to enslave you first born and have them become our property" in a Terms of Service, no government outside of a hell-hole with accept the legitimacy of that and will either reject or penalise the company for including it]

If you still are a facebook member (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698014)

If you still are a face book member you have zero to complain about. If your not a member why do you care? Your not going to change anything, your not a member you don't have a voice. Whats not so funny to me is that they are allowed to continually,repeatedly break privacy laws all over the world and no ones been arrested yet. Why is that?

Actually, (2)

BlueScreenO'Life (1813666) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698054)

After reading TFA and the fine website of Europe vs Facebook [europe-v-facebook.org] it turns out they are honoring the European (Irish) law and sending CDs with personal info to whoever requests them; the kind of data they're refusing to hand over is:

"Data like the biometrical information or ”likes” are seen at trade secret, intellectual property or are simply too complicated to send to users according to Facebook."

It raises the question whether it's reasonable to request from them information such as your "likes". It sounds to me like asking a company to hand you over a log with your phone calls and email exchanges; I don't think they have that obligation.

time for individual data mining (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37698104)

As if your personal information is only valuable to big corporations. How about personal data mining? When are we going to see on-line services that actually offer something relevant, information about yourself! I'd actually be interested into my own buying habits,health friendship and emotions by generalizing over patterns of behavior of million others just like me. This would require an open standard where all your personal information is available.

Do Products Have No Rights? (2)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698424)

Can someone explain why "you are the product" translates to carte blanche for facebook to do what they want with your data? If the FBI maintains a file on me, using purely public information, do I not have a right to that information? I don't understand why "you are using this for free" translates to "you deserve whatever they do to you". If Facebook charged for their service, would I suddenly be entitled to more? So do products (aka users) have zero rights? Should we?

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37698506)

"Facebook says it is not required to give you a copy of some of your personal data..."

Why would you ask in the first place? What, you don't know who you are anymore?

Habeas data (1)

jcfandino (2196932) | more than 2 years ago | (#37698522)

In my coutry we have a constitutional right called Habeas data [wikipedia.org] . I don't think there's something like this in the US constitution, unfortunately.

It states (copied from wikipedia):

“Any person shall file this action to obtain information on the data about himself and their purpose, registered in public records or data bases, or in private ones intended to supply information; and in case of false data or discrimination, this action may be filed to request the suppression, rectification, confidentiality or updating of said data. The secret nature of the sources of journalistic information shall not be impaired.”

Oh...and NoScript is block FBcdn.com...yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37698526)

Just deactivated my account.

Deleting ASAP.

I'm finished with FB.

Not too sure about G+

And "Diaspora" wants $25 donations, despite what they got from Kickstarter...

Done.

For now - respect me; respect my trust; fuck

you.

Social media

PS. I love you Twitter...`

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