Monday, February 16, 2009

Rise of the Machines: The Cloud strikes back, Facebook edition

As more and more internet users use online services to store their information, pass time, and do whatever they do online, time has come for them to decide what information they store online, including social networking sites such as Facebook. Time also for some strict laws and regulation for the internet cloud, especially about ownership of data - who owns what and why?

Consumerist has written about Facebook's New Terms of Service, where they have done with the old one, which said that when you closed an account on Facebook, any rights Facebook claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire.

The New Facebook Terms of Use says,
The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other.

What does that mean?
Basically, the TOS gives Facebook a 'perpetual, unlimited, do-whatever-they-want', rights to your data.

What can Facebook can do with your information once you are out?
Here are some ideas:
1. Sell your information to marketers, market researchers, basically outsourcing the spamming job.
2. Mine and re-purpose your data - pictures, quotes, links...or, sell them to startups who want to seed their website. BTW, this will be the last thing they will do before switching off the lights.
3. Pore over your relationships - your boss, your company, your friends, your family and spam them as well.
4. Provide your contact data to snoops, recovery agents, government agencies for a fee.
5. Sue you for publishing your own article, pictures elsewhere.

This area sure needs some urgent regulation from the technologically savvy Obama administration, which in turn will set a trend for companies around the globe.

Related on Mediavidea:
Web 2.0: also known as Big Brother, aka HAl, aka Matrix
What a web 2.0 user said to the machine

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At 9:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I think Facebook's TOS are ridiculous, the only change here is that they've removed the expiration date. They can't do anything with your data that they couldn't do under their old, crappy, Terms of Service.

However, I would point out their Terms of Service grant them a license, they don't remove any of the authors rights of use. So they couldn't sue you for publishing your stuff elsewhere.

At 1:12 AM , Blogger Pramit Singh said...

Thank you for clearing that, JF

I would to like to add that when you delete a YouTube video, YouTube does not have any control over the data.


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