On Campus

Online Privacy: Blame Facebook

Take down your home address, remove your SIN and delete those incriminating photos

It seems we’re all taking a lesson from our beloved Toronto mayor in failing to read the fine print. (See Miller’s Illiteracy: Infrastructure Stimulus Fund.)


And, staying true to our national heritage, we’ve decided to blame The Man. Today’s target: Facebook. That evil, information-hoarding, corporate lackey serving troughs to capitalistic insatiability. Or something.

Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart posted her concerns in a report released Thursday. Stoddard says that Facebook does not comply with Canadian privacy laws and gives the company 30 days to amend procedures. Subsequently, the case can be brought to the Federal Court to force Facebook to tighten its policies.

Chief concerns include third party access to user information (via games, quizzes, etc.) and Facebook’s retention of personal information after users have closed their accounts.

…Well boo hoo. Cue the violins.

To me, the approach is baffling. Let’s spend lots of money bringing a case to Federal Court that could so easily be solved by telling our 14-year-olds not to post photos of themselves drinking Smirnoff Ices and making out with their best friends. No, the lesson: deflect blame, and you shall prosper.

To be pitifully cliché, it’s my opinion that privacy in an information age is an illusion. There are breaches everywhere—when you use your credit card, fill out survey or attend a public event or club. Chances are, if you don’t remember what happened last night, BeforeLastCall.com can refresh your memory.

It’s not an Orwellian prediction come true or an international intelligence conspiracy; it’s idiots like Ray Lam forgetting to de-tag his photos. So take down your home addresses, remove your SINs and delete those incriminating bachelor party photos. It’s time to come to terms, dear disgruntled, anonymous commenter, that if I really want to, I can probably find out your name. So be nice.

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