Feeds

Facebook comes out swinging

Fires back on ‘shadow profile’ accusation

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.