One Facebook Data Shadow Please! That will be 40 days sir..

I’m interested in exploring how social media has found itself in the crosshairs of militaries and governments around the world interested in stymieing insurrection. I don’t go along with the hyperbole around the Arab Spring being Facebook driven and in truth I haven’t read a terribly great deal into the arguments for or against. It’s the interest of governments in developing algorithmic means of surveillance which intrigues me.

Nevertheless, the amount of data Facebook keeps on any individual has to be cause for concern for anyone hoping to mobilise under (or indeed, against) a repressive regime. To that end the efforts of Max Schrems have done us all a great service. In the past year Max has utilised European privacy legislation to gain access to ALL the data which Facebook keeps on record about him (and correlatively, everyone). Facebook, to the outside person, exist in a perpetual mode of privacy ‘crisis’, though the scarequotes are entirely justified as ultimately the ball remains in their court.

The means by which Schrebs could attain his data appeared in an extremely easy-to-use format on the EU vs Facebook page, and I eagerly await gaining access to the full spectrum of what Facebook keeps on record about me. Personally I’m most interested to see the full 70+ categories by which my data shadow is defined on one of the biggest players in the data harvesting game. But as notes

It would be nice to know much more about Max Schrems’ data – for example which biometric data facebook stores. But facebook says that they don’t want to reveal any more. It’s a confidential business matter.

The likelihood of Facebook rolling over and presenting ALL data to whichever Government came asking firmly enough is fairly high, so it’s good that the Germans and dedicated organisations like Europe vs Facebook are doggedly pursuing Facebook over these matters.

~ by Stephen Fortune on December 29, 2011.

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