Facebook and the Canadian Election


Canadians that are not in favour of the neo-conservative Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper are using Facebook to help oust him. It’s become an issue that Elections Canada had to look into facebook groups and they ended up concluding that, yes, the facebook groups are legal.

The groups in question are easily accessible through facebook and seem to be pretty active.

Pair Vote (Swap) – Canada Election 2008 is the place to partner with someone else to try to coordinate the best voting option based on your respective locations.

Similarly, Anti-Harper Vote Swap Canada provides the same service.

Click here for an example of how this vote-swapping works.

It leaves me to wonder why the people behind Vote for Climate don’t have a facebook page.

Facebook is “a minefield of privacy invasion”

Another week and another accusation that Facebook destroys people’s privacy. However, this accusation could end up changing Facebook in Canada. The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), run out of the University of Ottawa, has filed a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada that outlines 22 problems with Facebook.

The complaint that CIPPIC sent in lists the points succinctly:

We submit that Facebook is violating Principles 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.7, and 4.8 of PIPEDA,
Schedule 1 by failing to:
• Identify all the purposes for which it collects Users’ personal information (Principle 4.2);
• Obtain informed consent from Users and non-Users to all uses and disclosures of their
personal information (Principle 4.3);
• Allow Users to use its service without consenting to supply unnecessary personal
information (Principle 4.3.3);
• Obtain express consent to share Users’ sensitive information (Principle 4.3.6);
• Allow Users who have deactivated their accounts to easily withdraw consent to share
information (Principle 4.3.8);
• Limit the collection of personal information to that which is necessary for its stated
purposes (Principle 4.4);
• Be upfront about its advertisers’ use of personal information and the level of Users’
control over their privacy settings (Principle 4.4.2);
• Destroy personal information of Users who terminate their use of Facebook services
(Principle 4.5);
• Safeguard Users’ personal information from unauthorized access (Principle 4.7); and
• Explain policies and procedures on the range of personal information that is disclosed to
third party advertisers and application developers (Principle 4.8).

Ars Technica has an article summarizing CIPPIC’s stance:

CIPPIC points out a number of other violations that have raised the eyebrows of users for some time now. Facebook fails to disclose why every third-party Facebook application must have access to every bit of a user’s personal data (this is something that annoys me, personally), and requires the submission of a user’s date of birth upon registration even though there are no age guidelines for using the service. Facebook also fails to obtain express consent to share users’ personal information by making all information partially public by default (users can change privacy settings after saving the information first). The same goes for photographs uploaded by the user, or photos uploaded and tagged by others that then show up on the user’s profile by default—whether they like it or not.

Read the report from CIPPIC (PDF)

saudi woman killed for chatting on facebook

A young Saudi Arabian woman was murdered by her father for chatting on the social network site Facebook, it has emerged.

The unnamed woman from Riyadh was beaten and shot after she was discovered in the middle of an online conversation with a man, the al-Arabiya website reported.

The case was reported on a Saudi Arabian news site as an example of the “strife” the social networking site is causing in the Islamic nation.  link

Facebook changes Beacon…sort of

Facebook’s new aggressive ad program, Beacon, is undergoing some changes because of pressure from its users and advocacy groups like MoveOn.org.  Originally Beacon alerted your friends if you purchased something from participating sites, unless you took action to disable it, now Beacon has to be enabled by the user before it sends out alerts.  The changes also come from huge advertisers such as Coca-Cola  who are severing their ties with Beacon due to all the negative press.  This doesn’t mean that there aren’t still privacy issues with Facebook.