Posted by Greg Mills
FaceBook has secretly been providing complete files on its users to law enforcement. Most of the time the FaceBook users never know their information was given to the police. The policy decision to advise users or not of the warrant is for FaceBook to decide. FaceBook prepared a manual for warrant proceedures they appear to have reproduced for law enforcement. See http://cryptome.org/isp-spy/facebook-spy.pdf
I guess they figured it would be far better for FaceBook’s pubic relations not to reveal the warrant disclosures of FaceBook users. People might get nervous about doing the FaceBook thing altogether if that were to be publicized.
Reuters found that Federal Judges authorized 24 search warrants for individual FaceBook accounts prior to 2011. So far in the year 2011 FaceBook has gotten 11 Federal Warrants for user files. FaceBook claims they are “sensitive” to user privacy, but it sure sounds like they are far more sensitive to their own public relations problems.
FaceBook search warrants demand the users “neoprint and photoprint”, (internal FaceBook jargon). The detailed package demanded included some compiled user information files not even available to the FaceBook users themselves.
People who post considerable information about themselves and make connections with others who do the same, really have no expectation of privacy and they sure don’t get any from FaceBook.
The recent opt out FaceBook facial recognition issue takes on an even more sinister feeling when coupled with potential complete access to FaceBooks servers by the government. The FaceBooks facial identification feature, which may be blocked by user preferences on the user side, is certainly not blocked on the server side.
FaceBook will soon have global search capabilities you can’t opt out of, even if you aren’t a FaceBook user! If someone posts your picture and tags it with your name, FaceBook has your number, period.
Geotagged GPS locations of photos adds even more information from what civilians thought was just a digital picture. Remember the innocent days of the Kodak snapshot?
Could a warrant be issued to search all tagged facial pictures on FaceBook servers to match a bank robbery caught by a security camera picture? You bet. That might be good. Can this be abused? You bet. Will this be abused? You bet.
If posting someones name on their previously anonymous picture, which is then tagged with their name and publicized without their permission isn’t a violation of privacy rights, why get a signed model release to use someones image for commercial use?
FaceBook is making money, so the picture use is certainly commercial. Sounds like a valid cause of action to me. This has got to be tested sometime soon to see what the courts say. Models’ right to control their own image has been confirmed by the courts, previously.
FaceBook and the new FaceBook, Jr., Google+ represent new and serious challenges to the notion of privacy. I think I will pass on the FaceBook thing. That Greg’s Bite