Privacy issue still a concern for Facebook users

Monday, 30 August 2010, 07:12 Hrs   |    3 Comments
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New Delhi: More and more Indians might be hooked to social networking site Facebook, but experts feel that privacy issues still remain a concern since users face the vulnerability of their personal data getting hacked.

According to experts and publicly available information, users' privacy is not fully protected while using many of the applications available on Facebook.

Facebook applications have potential privacy issues and when a user signs up for an application, they are in essence allowing the developer to access all of their information and their friends' information, they said.

Rahul Chaudhry, Partner at intellectual property law firm Lall Lahiri & Salhotra said that although Facebook is a great way of being connected, the site also brings several potential privacy issues which the user must be aware of.

"Your basic information, pictures, notes, local hard drive, the posts that one likes are vulnerable of becoming public," Chaudhry told media.

"A user's profile pictures would be available on websites liked by clicking Facebook 'like' application. The pictures can also be downloaded by the person one is allowing to view them. Your local drive/information becomes accessible to third parties," he noted.

Moreover, the users profile pictures and names would always be available on the internet.

Last month, in an effort to highlight the privacy issues involved with the website globally, a security consultant had published personal details of 100 million Facebook users on the internet.

Earlier this year, Facebook had faced public ire over the complexity of its privacy settings, following which the site had rolled out simplified privacy controls.

"Privacy setting can be edited to hide the information from 'everyone' to 'friends of friends', only friends, customised etc, but the risk still remains," Chaudhry added.

Depicting the fast growing popularity of the website, Facebook has beaten competitors like Orkut and Yahoo! to become the top social networking site in India with 20.9 million visitors in July this year, as per the report by research firm comScore.

Another legal expert said that the loopholes in privacy could make a user vulnerable to cyber criminals and hackers.

The user has to be aware of protecting himself and his personal data as, "Facebook has completely absolved itself of any liabilities as it has expressly stated in their terms of agreement importance of account settings and that applications developed by third parties are not created by it."

"And Facebook has stated that it does not have the ability to control such applications or remove any infringing content from them," he said.
Source: PTI
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