10 December 2009

Facebook users beware...

Another day, another Facebook story in the news. Today Facebook has finally rolled out its new privacy settings for all its users. Before the global roll out of the privacy settings, Mark Zuckenberg of Facebook, introduced and explained the new privacy settings to its user via an open letter. According to Zuckenberg, the aim of the new privacy settings is to simplify the latter to users, no doubt, with a view to making them more accessible and less confusing to its users following many complaints including the one from the Canadian Privacy Commissioner.

Hence the new privacy settings are supposed to be clearer, easier to use and more effective at protecting the personal data of Facebook users. However, as rightly pointed out by the EFF, the new settings push users to share their information further. For more on this, see the illuminating article from the EFF which has links to further information.

9 December 2009

If you thought that only your friends/network could read your status updates, then you will soon be wrong!

It has been reported today that both MySpace and Facebook have signed a deal with Google which will allow its users` publicly available status updates to be fully searchable on the search engine. Google has a similar agreement with Twitter and it is reported that the new agreement with Facebook and MySpace will go live in a few days.

This is a very worrying development for MySpace and Facebook users who have had no say in this matter and will now have their status updates fully searchable and visible on Google to all and sundry if they have not changed their default privacy settings. Past research has shown that most Facebook users use default privacy settings (rather than higher ones) which means that their accounts are fully visible to the rest of Facebook users in their networks. This new deal will also mean now that their updates will be fully indexed and searchable via Google. Cyber Panda thinks that in the new few days, Facebook/MySpace users as well as privacy bodies will raise the alarm bell which will force the companies to either rethink this deal or provide more protection for users` data.

i2015 or the New EU Digital Strategy

The New EU Digital Strategy which is currently being shaped by the EU will put consumers at the core of i2015, the EU`s action plan for digital economy. In effect, this means creating a consumer-friendly single market for online services.

Relatedly, the new incoming Spanish EU President is also shaping his digital agenda which is rumoured to make the use of VoIP mandatory on mobile handsets. If this does happen, it will no doubt have a significant impact on traditional telecom service providers as well as on principles of net neutrality. i2015 should be delivered in spring 2010 so not long to go now before we can ascertain its detailed contents.