Privacy and Facebook applications

I have mentioned Facebook and the expectation of privacy before. Now, the blog of the Canadian privacy commissioner is highlighting one of the risks. Because third party applications have access to both the data of those who install them and the friends of those who have them installed, they can be used to surreptitiously collect information from those in the latter group. While this widens the scope of what third party applications can do, it also seriously undermines the much-trumpeted new privacy features in the Facebook platform.

It just goes to reinforce what I said before: you should expect that anything you post on Facebook is (a) accessible to anyone who wants to see it and (b) likely to remain available online indefinitely. The same goes for most information that is published somewhere online, including on servers you operate yourself.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

4 thoughts on “Privacy and Facebook applications”

  1. Facebook Agrees To User Safety Plan

    By Soulskill on i’m-like-totally-18

    Facebook has reached an agreement with the attorneys general of 49 states and the District of Columbia to develop and enhance controls to protect minors from inappropriate content. This follows a similar commitment from MySpace several months ago. The lone holdout in each case was Texas. notes: “In the deal, the social network has agreed to develop age verification technology, send warning messages when an under-18 user may be giving personal information to an unknown adult, restrict the ability for people to change their ages on the site, and keep abreast of inappropriate content and harassment on the site. While the agreement is with U.S. state authorities, Kelly said that the tools deployed will apply to Facebook’s international users as well. More than half of the site’s 70 million users are outside the U.S.”

  2. Dozens of Facebook apps breached

    New York— The Associated Press
    Published Monday, Oct. 18, 2010 6:34AM EDT
    Last updated Monday, Oct. 18, 2010 8:10AM EDT

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that 10 popular Facebook applications have been transmitting users’ personal identifying information to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies.

    The newspaper said Monday that the breach also includes users who set all their information to be completely private. And in some cases, it says, the apps provided access to friends’ names.

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