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    Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    challenge posed by Andy Nash 191 days 22 hours 1 minute ago

    Category: Technology
    Challenge Forum

    Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    Facebook has been in the hot seat with Zuckerberg testifying in front of U.S. Senate committees, especially over privacy concerns after the recent fallout with 87 million users’ date being shared with Cambridge Analytica.

    Among the many ideas questioned was how do users exactly “own” their data, when they don’t get royalties from any of it that’s shared with third parties or advertisers. And depending on the privacy settings that many either don’t set, don’t understand, don’t trust, or are perhaps ignored by apps connecting to your facebook, their terms of agreement state “you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License)”, prompting LA Senator John Kennedy to say “Your User Agreement Sucks!”
    He said it’s really just a CYA for Facebook.

    Of the many facets of this, I’d like to focus on privacy. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) last May introduced the Balancing the Rights of Web Surfers Equally and Responsibly (BROWSER) Act of 2017 to protect the online privacy. It would require both ISPs as well as media content providers like FB & Google to acquire your consent prior to collecting & sharing your data.

    Would you agree with the BROWSER Act? Do you believe there should be any government regulation on Social Media to protect users from data breeches and for privacy? If so how or in what form? Do you believe you should “own” your data in any meaningful sense beyond the current limits? How so, to what extent?

    Or should there be no expectation whatsoever of privacy left anymore? Many people I’ve asked said the Social Media companies know everything about us anyway, so who cares. The algorithms already figure out what we like or think we want to see, so will it just be a matter of time before the lines blur between suggesting vs. prescribing what we buy, consume, see and do (or proscribing what not to). What need for privacy will there be once everything is all figured out for us ahead of time?

    Re: Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    Hello Andy,

    I typically am against more laws and government intervention, but this seems to be a case of the government making laws about a new problem that has risen due to our advances in technology. Regardless though, people should be responsible online and realize that whatever they post could be seen by others or sold to advertisers, etc.

    I can see the value of you owning your data. It is your information, and it belongs to you. However, does that mean you need to stay off social media, because by it's very nature it makes your information public? I'm not sure. Social media has to be forced to take better care of your information, or you have to take the risk, or stay off social media.

    I personally believe in privacy. I try to give social media as little information about me as possible. When companies or the government know everything about you, are you really free?

    In the end, it is hard to talk about privacy and social media because the essence of social media is that they give you access to their thing for free (in this case Facebook) and then they make money off you by selling your information to advertisers. People need to be aware that this is how social media works and know the risks. I am not sure how this should be gone about, but companies at least need to keep your data "secure"; even if that just means that people cannot access it who have not paid Facebook for it. That's how social media works...

    Thanks for the forum!

    Java

    Re: Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    Hi, this is a touchy subject, since Facebook is a private enterprise and I generally agree that government should stay out of a private business's "business". We actually need less government regulations, not more. I don't really see why congress should have gotten involved with this at all, maybe with a private meeting to discuss Cambridge Analytics, Russian Bots, election interference and that kind of thing. On the other hand, if Facebook actually sold users data to Cambridge Analytics then there may be an issue. Facebook's service agreement is there basically to cover their butt. I feel laws do need to keep up with technology, as in stalking and other issues. The congressman had no business questioning Facebook's minority hiring, that is an attempt at pressuring who he hires. Also, I do believe Facebook has censored conservatives; but I guess the answer could be to start another Facebook option.

    - W

    Re: Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    Hello!

    I think all citizens should have the right to their privacy both online and otherwise. However, I also think that people need to be more aware of the fact that whatever information they put out about themselves online is at risk of being used by people who were never supposed to see it. I am very careful of the ways I use my personal information online. As for having government regulation, I think it is a difficult matter because as others have said, the government's job is not to investigate these types of things. If we let the government regulate the internet and business' use of private information, it can quickly turn into a scenario where the internet is too heavily regulated.
    Businesses should be held accountable for their actions and individuals should be more careful when releasing their personal information.

    Thanks for the question,
    -Noa

    Re: Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    From what I have read on the history of Facebook's involvement with data collection and sharing, as well as privacy, they have been very diligent in improving policies where their current policies failed. If there there was an unknown loophole in data collection from other apps or sites, they tightened the rope on the types of data those apps could access.

    Honestly, the whole issue is over my head, but I agree with Wames, this is a private business that has an agreement with their users. I think they can handle it on their own without government involvement, I believe from what I've heard from Mark Zuckerberg is concerned and willing to make Facebook better.

    Users have already agreed to several permissions that allow Facebook to share their data, so it really shouldn't be a surprise when it ends up in the "wrong hands". Regardless, it sounds like Zuckerberg is going to do more to protect data of his users from here on.

    This isn't the first breach of privacy that's ever happened, and I don't know that government getting involved is really going to help. Personal information is leaked all the time with or without government protection.

    Jess

    Re: Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    Hey Andy!

    I hate the idea of our information being stolen and utilized against us. Especially with virtually everyone connected to social media sites in some way or another, using our information behind out backs for someone else's profit seems a violation of the modern human's rights. You could pull the technicality and say we all signed "User Terms and Agreements", but it's almost paradoxical as Facebook (and other social media) wouldn't exist without exactly that; society.

    I believe that there should be government regulation to prevent actions like this against people rights. However, I do still believe they should maintain their capitalistic ways, I don't believe they should violate our agreement and use my data without my consent. If everyone as a group protested against things like this, we could force social media outlooks to include that in their terms.

    -Cory

    Re: Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    Hey Andy!

    Honestly, I cannot blame Facebook for taking information that people so willingly post and then using it to their benefit. Social Media is a public thing. If you want your information to be private, then I you shouldn't be posting it all over social media. I don't think people have a valid argument when saying they have a "right to their data". People have a right to their private information; however, they forfeit that privacy when they plaster it all over a public place.

    That being said, I do have some privacy issues with Facebook. There have been multiple times that I have googled something and such as "Nike shoes" and then I have gone on my Facebook and there have been adds for Nike shoes. I would understand if I Facebook searched Nike shoes and the adds came up, but it scares me that it drew information from another location. There was even an incident where a friend and I were talking about Crunch candy bars. She had never had one before and was trying it for the first time. Later she opened her Facebook and there were adds for Crunch bars! WE HAD ONLY TALKED ABOUT IT! WE DIDN'T INPUT ANY INFORMATION INTO OUR PHONE ABOUT IT! Apparently, she clicked a button that allowed Facebooks default privacy settings. This allowed access to her microphone. It may have just been a coincidence, but it was still unsettling.

    I think access to the microphone and data from other apps is a little over the top. I can see why people have a problem with it. They should be more open about what type of information they are taking and allow easier options to change it. The reason they are so secretive about it is because they know people think it is scary.

    I have tried to increase the privacy setting on Facebook as much as possible and I don't use other social media. I am a very private person.

    I just think that maybe Social Media goes a little over the top with the amount of information they sneakily extract and on the other hand, I think that people need to be more aware of the information they are putting out on the internet.

    There is always a happy medium right?

    -Erin

    Re: Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    Andy,
    Great topic. I actually laugh when I think about this because the amount of personal things that people share on social media is actually quite alarming. I have a pretty basic profile so if my data was "sold," I'm not quite sure the value the company reviewing it gained.

    If you choose to expose yourself to the outside world via the internet, that is NOTORIOUS for hacking and data stealing, are you really the victim??

    Maybe this is a good reminder for people to limit what they share online and to not allow your decisions to be manipulated by what an ad may say. Do research on your own and protect yourself!

    Thanks,
    Morgan

    Re: Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    Hi Andy,

    I have mixed views on the subject of privacy, like many of the responses above.

    However, I err more on the side that if we put our information online, we no longer own it. Facebook is a free social media site that we, as a society, use for everything. We use it to "check in" to locations so that our friends can see where we are and what we're doing. We use it for business marketing purposes. We use it to organize events. We post status updates that tell our "friends" exactly what we are doing, and we use it as a form of social validation.

    I think it's crazy to think that if we put information online on our social media, that that information is privileged and belongs to us. People need to understand that once we put information out there, it's on the internet. People have access to it. In my opinion, the fact that our society doesn't understand that what you post online becomes public information is a major downfall.

    In my opinion, if you want privacy, don't post things online. Turn off your location settings. Maybe even get rid of your smartphone, because they've got to be listening to us (and I don't think it's just Facebook breaches).

    Our government should stay out of regulating other people's businesses. It's not the government's place to regulate what's done with online data. If we want privacy, we need to look at our online practices and what we are posting online.

    However, if our banking information is breached or identity theft is happening, I think that is a completely different story. The government should get involved in those cases, especially because it impacts FDIC insured banks. If our online purchase method information is being compromised, that crosses a line, because we are meant to believe that it's private and secure.

    Thanks for a great, relevant topic. I am enjoying reading the responses on this one!

    Thanks,
    Megan

    Re: Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    Hey Hey!

    I get the notion of privacy. But lets be honest, I really do not think any of us as individuals can make any money from our information, or data as an individual unit. Yes, Facebook sells the data and the ad firms target you for advertising based on that data. But the information is provided in the User Agreement. Now, I never read those things either. I've probably signed off multiple unborn children by now with all the agreements I have signed off on, but I also do not enter my information into just anything that asks for it. I am not on Facebook, just because I lost interest awhile ago with it. But Facebook also has a responsibility to keep that information guarded and it appears they failed to do so and are now having trouble being honest to what extent they failed to do so. In that sense, yes I believe they should be held to a standard of protecting their users data because that is a part of the arrangement.

    Re: Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    Hmm, interesting topic. I think it would be a good idea to have something like that, especially because sometimes people use the internet for personal things (assuming that they're legal and not hurting anyone) that is their own business and not the business of others. When it comes to government involvement, there are some things that they can't stop, like a data breech. That's happened at the school I go to, even though the systems were up to date and everything. Sure, there can be measures taken to prevent it, but hackers can get clever, so I wouldn't fully guarantee that everyone is going to be protected in a data breech. While I can see how having what you like put in front of you would be beneficial, I think it's always a good idea to just have humans pick out what they like, not some computer system, especially because sometimes we change in what we like. Interesting forum!

    Re: Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    We have to decide what we want. Do we want privacy or do we want free resources? If companies aren't selling our data to advertisers, how are they doing to make their money? And if they don't make money, how are they to continue to operate such a robust platform?

    I agree with the BROWSER act but I also know we operate in a world where people sign the virtual dotted lines of contracts they've never read and complain when it comes back to bite them later. If people truly want privacy, they have to forgo the luxury that is the internet.

    Re: Facebook and your privacy - ahem.

    Hey!

    Me personally, I do not have a Facebook. I never wanted one. I am a pretty private person to begin with and I didn't want to be posting about entire life for the world to see. I do agree with this new law. I think that our personal information is ours and ours only. In no way should it be sold to solicitors or companies that can use our data to their advantage. It is just not fair.

    I agree with the Browser Act because it will give some regulation to an already messy situation and still young problem. At least it will help us to monitor things such as this Facebook privacy scandal. However, people do voluntarily create social media accounts. They are warned when signing up...but no one reads that fine print. No one really actually agrees to the terms of service unless they actually read the entire 100 page agreement. I am guilty of this, I admit! But hopefully this act would help to protect ourselves and our privacy rights.

    Thanks!!

    Tom