Why the Facebook privacy notice is useless, and how to really protect your privacy online

Why the Facebook privacy notice is useless, and how to really protect your privacy online

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

08 December 2014

It seems that internet users are increasingly worried about their privacy these days – and they’ve been given a lot of reason to be concerned. With widespread online surveillance, interception of emails and more, it’s difficult not to feel that we are being watched online, and that our information is no longer in our hands.

It’s this feeling that has given rise to yet another viral Facebook “privacy” post in the wake of the social network updating its (shaky) privacy policy in the last few weeks. You’ve most likely seen this post crop up on your Facebook feed, and it probably read something like this.

_“Due to the fact that Facebook has chosen to use software that will allow the theft of my personal information, I do declare the following: on this day, 29th November 2014, in response to the new Facebook guidelines and under articles L.111, 112 and 113 of the code of intellectual property, I declare that my rights are attached to all my personal data, drawings, paintings, photos, texts etc… published on my profile since the day I opened my account. For commercial use of the foregoing my written consent is required at all times. By this release, I tell Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, broadcast, or to take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The actions mentioned above apply equally to employees, students, agents and/or other staff under the direction of Facebook. The contents of my profile include private information. The violation of my privacy is punished by the law (UCC 1 1-308 – 308 1 -103 and the Rome Statute). Facebook is now an open capital entity.

Those reading this text can copy it and paste it on their Facebook wall. This will allow them to place themselves under the protection of copyright. If you have not published this statement at least once, you will tacitly allow the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile update.”

Despite all its claims, this status is, in fact, completely meaningless.

When users sign up to Facebook, they agree to their terms and conditions; if they fail to do this, they cannot open an account. When Facebook updates its privacy policy, it alerts users and states unequivocally that continuing use of the site means that users agree to the updates and to the privacy policy as it stands. No amount of pseudo-legalese or citations of statues will supersede this.

If you continue to use Facebook, you agree to its privacy policy. That is the bottom line.

As a Facebook user, you are right to feel that your data is being used. Facebook retains the right to use any material uploaded to the site for their own use. There is only one way to stop Facebook getting hold of your intellectual property: do not use the site.

If you are concerned about your online privacy outside of Facebook, the best thing that you can do is to install a VPN on any device that you use to browse the web. SurfEasy VPN acts as an encryption tunnel between you and the internet, hiding your IP address and making it impossible for websites or individuals to track your movements online or to steal your data.

SurfEasy VPN is available for Mac, Windows, Android and iOS, and the SurfEasy Unlimited plan gives you VPN coverage on up to five devices for just $4.99 per month. Get protected today at surfeasy.com/register.

 

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