Facebook: “There is no invasion of privacy at all, because there is no privacy”

That is a quote from Facebook attorney Orin Snyder. He made it while defending the Facebook against a class-action lawsuit over the Cambridge Analytic scandal. The full story is here. If anyone has any doubts as to Facebook’s intentions with your data should take a minute and read the Facebook privacy page. It is pretty clear what is going on. Since the user (you) is giving information voluntarily to Facebook, you should not expect it to be kept private.

 

As much as this quote and their business model burns my skin, I am glad they are being someone transparent about what they are doing. But we need to listen. Using Facebook, or any social media platform for more than saying hi to a friend, is probably a mistake. Many of us give them our real birthdays. We upload photos that have meta data in them. Because of GPS, they know where we have been. They also know how we have been around, and the amount of time we have been with those people and those places. It doesn’t take advanced AI to take advantage of this information and use it against us. It just takes a few people with bad intentions.

 

Even those with good intentions can be a problem. Facebook might have a robust data protection infrastructure (it doesn’t but that is not the point). However, if that data is sold to some app developer in their parent’s basement, is the same protection present. Maybe Facebook will require some assurances that it is, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Now your information is available to anyone who wants to spend a few minutes trying to get it. The threat goes from getting very timely advertisements for bacon, to identity theft. Credit cards can be opened in your name, etc. Or the wonderful phone call we get from tech support that we didn’t initiate but is going to fix all of our problems we didn’t know we had until they called.

 

Privacy isn’t just an issue of hiding something embarrassing (maybe for some). It is also protecting our information so others can’t use it to take advantage of us unknowingly. IMHO anything you put on Facebook is available to the world. If you would not put it on a bill board, don’t put it on Facebook. If you would put it on a bill board, I will wouldn’t put it on Facebook. There is no invasion if you give it away.

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