A little over a week ago, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa brought a complaint against Facebook to the Privacy Commissioner.
“They say they’re purely a social networking site, but they’re in fact a commercial enterprise that is about sharing and using the personal information of its members with advertisers and third-party application developers,” says Philippa Lawson, director of CIPPIC.
The case was built by CIPPIC law interns over the last four months.
A few months before that, this thought provoking video — about what happens to your data on social networking sites like Facebook — was posted by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
The video warns of how social networking sites are a goldmines for those who want to use the data shared by users for any number of benign and perhaps not-so-benign ends – so Facebook isn’t about you, it’s about your data.
Here’s an explanation from the blog post that announced the video:
It’s becoming obvious that a lot of Canadians – and others – are signing over their privacy rights to these companies in exchange for access to increasingly popular social networks.
This is a choice they can make, but we would hope that people would take a minute to think about their choices – and how much information they end up handing over to corporations, advertisers and marketing companies.
Idle speculation: I wonder if this video helped to give them the idea for the complaint?