Friday, May 21, 2010

Privacy beware

I've been getting pretty alarmed by the changes to Facebook. It seems that the squillions the people who set it up have made from the thing isn't enough for them, and so they recently set up to share information from all the profiles in a new setting called "Instant Personalization" that shares data with non-Facebook websites and it is automatically set to "Allow." Go to Account>Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites >InstantPersonalization > Edit Settings, and uncheck "Allow". You...also need to uncheck all the boxes in the "What your friends share about you" tab.

What is this rubbish? Shouldn't stuff like this be opt in, and not "scrabble around trying to find out how to switch off something they set automatically on"?

I recently fell out with Geni, the free genealogy website for the same reason. I used it for my speculative genealogy, putting in place a lot of information I have gathered over the last twenty years. Suddenly they announced that they planned to share all my information with everyone else, except for living people and a couple of generations.

Never mind that I don't want to do this... or that the speculative nature of my family trees may make them worthless for other people. I know what will happen, people will import or merge my information, however worthless, with their own information.

There is no option for not doing this, except closing the account. There was no warning when I set up my account that this would happen. It shows an utter lack of respect for the people using their service. I had uploaded pictures, joined family to the service, used it to keep in touch with cousins. I have to trash all of that because they don't respect people's ownership of their data.

It makes me angry when people treat me as though my opinion is of no consequence. I don't believe that companies will continue to be successful if they treat people like this. I will migrate to the new, privacy-aware facebook, Diaspora, as soon as they are up and running. I plan to leave my facebook in place, with just my professional details in place, and remove all personal information.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments on this blog are now post-moderated. Please comment in English, because I will delete comments I cannot read or understand.