Saturday, 7 November 2009

Facebook - Proposed Updated Privacy Policy

Congratulations to Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook, who seem to have learned the lessons of last year and have now published their proposed changes to the Privacy Policy as a consultation in advance of those changes going live.

Because Facebook can change their Privacy Policy at any time, if you are a Facebook user I would recommend that you go to the Facebook Site Governance pages and "become a fan". If you do this, you will get regular updates on any changes as to how Facbook is operating. This will enable you to retain a greater control over the data that you are posting on Facebook and you will be advised if Facebook move the goalposts and change how they are looking after your data.

Click here for the proposed Facebook Privacy policy

A few highlights of the proposed Facebook Privacy Policy

The key area for me is how Facebook protect my data, especially when I choose to amend or close my account. These are the relevant passages from the proposed new policy:
  • Deactivating or deleting your account. When you delete an account, it is permanently deleted.
  • Limitations on removal. Even after you remove information from your profile or delete your account, copies of that information may remain viewable elsewhere to the extent it has been shared with others, it was otherwise distributed pursuant to your privacy settings, or it was copied or stored by other users. However, your name will no longer be associated with that information on Facebook. (For example, if you post something to another user’s profile, and then you delete your account, that post may remain, but be attributed to an “Anonymous Facebook User.”) Additionally, we may retain certain information to prevent identity theft and other misconduct even if deletion has been requested.
  • Backup copies. Removed and deleted information may persist in backup copies for up to 90 days, but will not be available to others.
This all seems very positive, although I would like to know under what circumstances Facebook "may retain certain information to prevent identity theft and other misconduct even if deletion has been requested."

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