Facebook Loosening Up Privacy Restrictions

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Facebook is letting non-registered users find pictures and names of private accounts owners.  See link below for official Facebook statement and the page you need to keep your pic and name truly private.

This would be good information to pass around to your colleagues.  Many teachers have Facebook accounts they have made private to keep prying students at bay.  This change would give the students access that most responsible teachers try to prevent.

Link to Facebook’s explanation of  the privacy change
Link to page where Facebook users can (again) restrict search access.

via Lifehacker

Comments on this post

  1. Eric Palmer said on September 9, 2007 at 7:43 am

    As a privacy expert (CIPP) and someone that daily works to ensure security around my employer’s information, servers and web sites I’m baffled as to why FaceBook would make this move. The comment “The public search listing contains less information than someone could find right after signing up anyway, so we’re not exposing any new information, and you have complete control over your public search listing.” seems a bit off!

    If they really want to ensure that you have complete control over your public search listings and ensure proper levels of privacy they would automatically enable the more restricted access for members when this change goes live and then let the members open it up to non-facebook searches if they so choose. We all know that most people don’t read the pricacy notices and fine print. People generally don’t understand what they are reading or trust that the company is doing the right thing. Probably a bad assumtion as this demonstrated.

    Thanks for pointing this out to us…

  2. Rachel Munch said on January 23, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Hey, I have a question. So if I posted someone else’s information, like name, address, etc. Whatever, would that be illegal?
    Cant you get sued for like, privacy infringement? Consent and all that?

    Okay, thanks.
    I need this for school, so whenever you can reply, (sooner is better,) would be great.
    Thanks a lot.

    ~R

  3. Eric said on January 24, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Rachel,

    I’m not a lawyer so take this in the context of knowing that. Would you be violating law. In some cases you might be violating fraud or harassment laws. Would you get arrested, in most cases, the police wouldn’t even know that it happened so it would be very unlikely. I can create a situation in my mind that might rise to the level of the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ) where someone again and again passes themselfs off as someone else or posts other peoples private information in an attempt to harm on many sites in many ways. In this rare circumstances then federal agents might get involved.

    On the other hand, you can just about sue anyone for anything. Winning is another matter. You have to prove some level of intent to harass or harm. Then you have to consider what is private information. Name address and phone number is not generally viewed as private. This information can be obtained quickly and easily on the internet for just about everyone. Try going to google and search for your full name and your city.

    Once you start to include date of birth in combination with social security numbers or medical information or bank account information them fraud or harassment becomes a possibility.

    I hope this helps.

  4. Tom said on January 24, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Rachel,

    I’m no lawyer, but it would probably depend on intent. If you post someone’s private information with malicious intent that would likely be taken into account, as would any action that results from your posting.

    There were a couple of court cases regarding hate groups etc. that posted people’s addresses with the fairly obvious goal that people would then do them harm. When that happened they were taken to court but I’m not sure if they were convicted or not.

    Maybe that helps.

  5. Rachel Munch said on January 31, 2008 at 12:59 am

    Thank you Tom and Eric,
    I am doing an article about like, online predators, and this question came to my attention.
    And I thought about how many friends and other people post other people names, etc, on their myspaces/facebooks.
    And for the sake of the article, I wondered if that was actually legal or not.

    Thank you for your prompt replies, they did help me out.

    ~Rachel

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