Yesterday Art 29 Working Party
issued a press release
where it declared it unacceptable that Facebook radically altered its privacy policies to the detriment of users.
The issue concerns the default settings. The WP recommended:
a default setting in which access to the profile information and information about the connections of a user is limited to self-selected contacts. Any further access, such as by search engines, should be an explicit choice of the user.
However, Facebook users know that it is necessary to navigate the privacy settings and go through a series of opt-outs.
Furthermore, the WP points out to Facebook and other social networks the lesson learned by Google in Italy: when a user uploads some contents involving a third party’s personal data it is necessary to “to obtain free and unambiguous consent.”
On the latter point there are still some fundamental technical problems. In fact, I am not sure how it would be possible to protect the interests of third parties by assigning such tasks to the social network platform, unless the WP requires that Facebook or other social networking sites add another check-box on their terms … something like this:
“You represent that the uploaded or shared content (” Content “) does not violate the privacy and / or other personal rights of third parties and that in any case you have previously obtained free and unambiguous consent to the publication of the Content from the owner of any personal data or personal rights relating to the Content.”
It would be easy for users to mark this check-box (among the many). Who knows if this will be more effective than similar disclaimers about copyrighted content.