back to article Does the existence of Facebook really merit a rewrite of data law?

The British government is keen for more public data and private transactions with taxpayers to be pushed online at precisely the same time as the Home Secretary demands more powers for security services to effectively snoop on communications traffic with the help of telcos and social networks. Add to that the fact that spooks …


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  1. JimC

    How much legislation does stand the test of time

    on technology issues these days?

    And how much law survives very long without government agencies wanting to tweak with it?

    So while the technology is rapidly changing its probably sensible to make frequent changes of law idf required. It will all settle down sooner or later.

  2. Elmer Phud


    Governments are merely peed off 'cos Facebook has all this info (some of it actually real) about people.

    Faceless, nameless, people sitting in offices somewhere digging out relationships between citizens using various available data-gathering tools using taxpayers money. The spooks are being done out of a job.

    Why don't government agencies just buy the same data as the game providers?

    It'd save a fortune.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jealousy?

      Facebook IS the front face of the CIA, NSA, etc.....

      They are the spooks..... With mind fucking "happy, happy, joy, joy" glee club bullshit trip to sell it.

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge

    User contract

    'All' Facebook provides is the infrastructure- people go onto FB for the words and images created by their own friends. It seems quite different to the implicit contract of commercial TV - 'we entertain you for 25 minutes, you watch our sponsors messages for 5'.

    The cost of developing and maintaining FB's infrastructure must surely be tiny per user. Since for many FB has become a de facto address book and in some parts of the world (see Arab Spring) a very real form of political interaction, governments really should do their job of standing up for their citizens, and legislate. If this results in a massive devaluation of FB's stock, so be it. It will only hurt those who invested in exploiting other people's data.

    <end rant>

  4. Pooka

    Why is it...

    The first thing I thought of with that piccy of Mr. Zuck was that damned frog that I'd spent years obliterating from my memory....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why is it...

      wot frog ?

  5. Anton Channing


    It says a lot that the establishment see Enlightenment events as some form of crisis that needs to be stopped at all costs.

  6. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Facebook has been around since 2004,

    It's probably here to stay for a while yet.

    Broadly, up to now, the law provides that you give personal data only to companies that you choose to allow to use it, and they can use it in any reasonable way in doing business with you, plus any way that you have agreed to. Tip: don't agree to let them give it to other people, even for free phone minutes. Do that once and you're damned forever. It's also presumed that your data will only be held where European law applies.

    Facebook is located outside the EU and it uses data in very wide ways that many of its users don't think about until things go wrong, so there is a need for legislators to create and impose rules for use of personal data to protect citizens from amoral private interests. They might be just able to limit the power of government itself to spy on you, also, but don't count on it.

  7. Keep Refrigerated
    Paris Hilton

    Problem with legislation...

    Is they always implement it arse-backwards.

    I have no problem with legislation that genuinely protects users/consumers. But when it comes to applying for a bank account - if you don't tick the box allowing them to share your data with any credit agencies they feel like (meaning you have to find out and contact all of them in the event of a problem- and the bias is against you, not for you) - you don't get a bank account. The same with most site cookies - don't want cookies - oh well the site won't work without.

    The legislation needs to be stronger than just "get permission". The legislation needs to force service providers to actually offer some kind of a basic service - or useful alternative - if you reject data sharing.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Laws and Enforcable Principles

    Thou Shalt Not Steal - is a law.

    Thou Shalt Not be a Lying, Manipulative Deceptive Shit Head - is a Principle.

    Mark Suck-a-Terd fell into the blender.

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