Facebook lawsuit will criminalise its own users, says EFF

Facebook is in danger of criminalising many of its users and trampling on their rights to access their information in the way they choose, according to a digital rights advocacy body.Facebook is suing Power Ventures, which operates social media aggregator Power.com. That site’s users can tell it to access all their social networking profiles and deliver them at one time.
http://out-law.com/page-10994Also see:EFF Seeks to Protect Innovation for Social Network Users [news release]
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging a federal judge to dismiss Facebook’s claims that criminal law is violated when its users opt for an add-on service that helps them aggregate their information from a variety of social networking sites.Power Ventures makes a web-based tool that users can set up to log into their multiple social networking accounts and aggregate messages, friend lists, and other data so they can see all the information in one place. In a lawsuit against Power Ventures, Facebook claims that Power’s tool violates criminal law because Facebook’s terms of service ban users from accessing their information through “automatic means.” By using Power’s tool, Facebook argues that its users are accessing Facebook “without permission” under the California penal code. EFF argues in an amicus brief filed Monday that users have the right to choose how they access their data, and turning any violation of terms of use into a criminal law violation would leave millions of Facebook users unwittingly vulnerable to prosecution.”California’s computer crime law is aimed at penalizing computer trespassers,” said EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick. “Users who choose to give their usernames and passwords to aggregators like Power Ventures are not trespassing. Under Facebook’s theory, millions of Californians who disregard or don’t read terms of service on the websites they visit could face criminal liability. Also, any Internet company could use this argument as a hammer to prevent its users from easily leaving the service as well as to shut down innovators and competitors.”Even the simple use of the automatic login feature of most browsers would constitute a violation under Facebook’s theory, since those services are “automatic means” for logging in. But the risk for users is even broader. If any violation of terms of use is criminal, users who shave a few years off their age in their profile, claim to be single when they are married, or change jobs or addresses without updating Facebook right away would also have violated the criminal law.”The information you put into social networking sites is yours, and you should be able to access it, export it, and aggregate it as you please,” said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. “If Facebook’s legal argument is upheld, it will hobble companies that enable consumer choice, as well a create a massive expansion in the scope of California criminal law.”
http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2010/05/03Six Things You Need to Know About Facebook Connections
“Connections.” It’s an innocent-sounding word. But it’s at the heart of some of the worst of Facebook’s recent changes.Facebook first announced Connections a few weeks ago, and EFF quickly wrote at length about the problems they created. Basically, Facebook has transformed substantial personal information — including your hometown, education, work history, interests, and activities — into “Connections.” This allows far more people than ever before to see this information, regardless of whether you want them to.Since then, our email inbox has been flooded with confused questions and reports about these changes. We’ve learned lots more about everyone’s concerns and experiences. Drawing from this, here are six things you need to know about Connections:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/05/things-you-need-know-about-facebookFacebook vs. LinkedIn: Which has the better privacy?
Privacy advocates’ criticism over recent moves by Facebook and Google Buzz begs the question: Is privacy possible in a social network? And, if so, which social-network service does it the best? To answer this question, this month I donned my privacy goggles and pored over the two social networks that my professional peers seem to use the most: Facebook and LinkedIn. I also asked all my Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections to tell me which they thought did privacy better. (I didn’t look at Buzz because I admittedly don’t know anyone using it.) What did I find out?
http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/050510-facebook-vs-linkedin-which-has.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.