PEOPLE CATALOGUE Facebook made a number of announcements last night that seem designed to harvest more personal information or, at least, keep it all in one place.
The social networking company was running its F8 conference when it revealed something called Timeline and its intention to get users to put all of their life on one scrollable page. The idea is to get a person's entire history on the web site, and in a blog post it explained that even if there were gaps in your social listings you could go back and add them. This, presumably, is not to be considered sinister.
"Back in the early days of Facebook, your profile was pretty basic - just your name, a photo, where you went to school... stuff you'd cover in the first five minutes you met someone," wrote Facebook Product Manager Samuel W. Lessin in a blog post that probably does more to remind users of how much better Facebook used to be than it is now.
"The way your profile works today, 99 per cent of the stories you share vanish. The only way to find the posts that matter is to click "Older Posts" at the bottom of the page. Again. And again... With timeline, now you have a home for all the great stories you've already shared. They don't just vanish as you add new stuff." Hooray for comprehensive documentation, where have you been all our lives?
"Go to your private activity log. This is where you'll find everything you shared since you joined Facebook," added Lessin. "Click on any post to feature it on your timeline so your friends can see it, too."
Elsewhere, in Norway to be precise, data protection watchdogs have published their response to Facebook's response to questions about personal privacy (PDF). The questions were sent on behalf of the Nordic Data Protection Authorities (PDF) and concerned Facebook's storage and use of personal information, he Norwegian Data Inspectorate (NDI) explained.
"Facebook confirms that what their members write on their own wall is used to target advertising. However, the company emphasises that this personal information is not passed on to other companies, with the exception of what the user accepts when installing so-called third party applications," the NDI said.
High on the agenda, hopefully, will be Facebook's habit of asking, or rather not asking, users if they want to opt out of its features, one of the more controversial of its update processes.
"In the continuous dialogue with Facebook, we will aim to argue the company should give their users the opportunity to 'opt in' to new features when they are released, rather than being signed on automatically and then having to 'opt out' later," he added.
NGO says the firm's data collection is 'an assault on privacy'
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