Feeds

Facebook comes out swinging

Fires back on ‘shadow profile’ accusation

Top three mobile application threats

Facebook has come out of its corner swinging in response to the accusation that its “shadow profiles”, among other aspects of its services, break Ireland’s privacy law.

The latest round in the world+dog-versus-Facebook began last week, when a group called Europe-v-Facebook picked up research by Austrian student Max Schrens as the basis of a complaint to Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner.

Schrens’s complaint covered the handling of Facebook user data, but also accused the company of creating “shadow profiles” of non-users. For example, he said, a non-user’s identity could be revealed to Facebook when a user uploads an address book to its servers.

Facebook’s Mia Garlick has told The Register that while Facebook does receive such information – since, for example, an e-mail address is provided by any user who sends a Facebook invite to a non-user – it does not use that data for profiling non-users.

“We keep the invitees’ e-mail address and name to let you know when they join the service,” she said. “This practice is common among almost all services that involve invitations … the assertion that Facebook is doing some sort of nefarious profiling is simply wrong.

“In addition, Facebook offers more control than other services, by enabling people to delete their e-mail address from Facebook, or opt-out of receiving invites.”

Regarding the accusation that user messages are retained by Facebook after the user has deleted them, Garlick says that Schrens has misunderstood the nature of messaging services.

Users can delete messages from their own inbox and sent folder, she said, and these truly are deleted. However, a message that a user sends also becomes part of the recipient’s inbox.

“People can’t delete a message they send from the recipient’s inbox, or a message you receive from the sender’s sent folder. This is the way every message service ever invented works,” she told El Reg. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.