When it’s not killing office productivity across the whole of the developed world and acting as a springboard for murder, affairs and hilarious pranks, Facebook often gets it in the ear for its attitude towards its users’ privacy.
Security Consultant Ron Bowes has gotten on that bandwagon and generated a million column inches of free publicity for himself. He wrote a nifty script that scraped every publicly accessible Facebook profile, collating as it did all the data that was available.
Now that data is doing the rounds on torrent sites and the world waits with bated breath for another AOL Stalker kind of application and the many hours of fun that will be had from outing people’s curious personal beliefs or dubious connections.
The whole case has stirred up a predictable firestorm of responses from privacy campaigners who fear that somehow this informati0n could be put to evil ends. Well, no doubt it could. But on the other hand, if you want to get back in touch with people you’ve maybe not seen in a long while there’s little sense hiding behind a shield of anonymity. The very point of social networking sites is their openness.
And have you seen the shit that people are prepared to post? (visit Lamebook for many, many more. NSFW!)
I don’t think it’s unkind to suggest that privacy isn’t a massive concern for many of Facebook’s users.
While Facebook’s privacy settings may seem a little bit labyrinthine and could arguably have a higher privacy setting as the default setting, the rule is as always: caveat empor. If you value your privacy, then it is down to you to look after it by learning what protections Facebook offers and deciding whether engaging in such a forum is actually the kind of thing you want to do in the first place.
In the meantime, hats off to Ron Bowes on his stunt!