Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Who's watching you? And do you care?

I really don't like to talk politics on my blog because there are so many people who immediately turn off as soon as politics is mentioned or, even worse, when some key word or phrase is included. For example, if I quote Rush Limbaugh about something, anything, certain readers will stop reading out of principle rather than listening to what I am quoting. Likewise, use of the term ACLU will raise the temperature of some readers who will then stop reading for health reasons.

But today I would like to applaud what the ACLU of Northern California is doing in trying to increase awareness in Facebook users as to how much information they are distributing to the world every time they take a Facebook survey or even every time a friend takes a survey. They have done this by (you guessed it) creating a survey for you to take. Of course, you have to be a member of Facebook to take their survey but then you have to be a member of Facebook for Facebook to reveal all your information. You do NOT have to be a member or even a sympathyser of ACLU to take the survey.

To take the survey simply click here:

If you are a member of Facebook and happen to agree with ACLU-Northern California's take on this breach of confidentiality, please let Facebook know. I think we all agree we don't need the government to solve all our problems.

ACLU-NC's recommendations to Facebook include:

  • Change default privacy settings so that quizzes and other third party applications run by a user's friends do not have access the information on a user's profile without the user's opt-in consent.
  • Simplify and improve privacy controls to give users the ability to decide what personal information gets shared with friends and others through Facebook.
  • Require that third party applications like quizzes list the categories of user data they will access and allow users to view this list. Prevent applications from having access to information that has not been listed, and notify users if an application's data categories change before allowing access to this additional information.
And thanks for reading this all the way through.

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