THE PRIVATE DATA belonging to 100 million Facebook users has been collected and put onto the peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharing website The Pirate Bay by an insecurity expert.
Ron Bowes wrote code to search for details on the world wide web that were available to search engines. That information would be available on Google for any Facebook user who had not ticked the box that said "don't allow search engines to find me".
Bowes published the URL of every searchable Facebook user's profile, their name and unique ID. This means that anyone can go to the person's page, which they can pretty much do now.
Bowes said he published the data to highlight privacy issues, but Facebook has shrugged and pointed out that the data was already public information.
The list has been distributed and was recently being downloaded from The Pirate Bay by more than 1,000 users.
In a statement to BBC News, Facebook said people who use Facebook own their information and have the right to share only what they want, with whom they want, and when they want.
Simon Davies from the watchdog Privacy International said Facebook had been given ample warning that something like this would happen.
He called it an "attack", which it isn't, and said Facebook should have put measures in place to prevent it.
But since it was up to the users to say, in effect, "don't put my data up on Google", the only thing Facebook could have done really was made privacy the default rather than leaving it up to users to opt-in for it. Duh. µ
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