1. Anti-Nuisance Ordinance
For Facebook, it has never been about the profit, but the users. The social network has spent more than $22 billion on acquisitions, which includes $19 billion on WhatsApp exclusively! That is 2000 times the annual revenue of WhatsApp! Other popular acquisitions include Instagram ($1 billion), Oculus ($ 2 billion) and Atlas ($100 million). With recent psychological experiments conducted by Facebook on its unsuspecting users coming to surface, it becomes imperative to understand how our information is being collected, stored or used. In this blog post, I have tried to analyze the privacy policies (before and after) of three of Facebook’s major acquisitions – Instagram, Moves and WhatsApp.
[Image Source: http://flic.kr/p/86Q3gF]
Social networking websites have taken the Internet by storm in today’s organic society. One such website, Facebook, with over a billion users has often been referred to as the ‘third largest country’ of the world. The rise of Facebook to soaring heights can be credited to first, the intensive monitoring of its users which enables the company to provide them tailor made services, targeted advertising and second, of course to Metcalfe’s Law, which in common parlance means that the more users there are on a social networking site, the more attractive it will be to people who are contemplating joining. In this blog post, I have tried to analyze Facebook’s privacy policies along the lines of the National Privacy Principles. These principles have been comprehensively dealt with by Justice A.P. Shah in his ‘Report on Privacy’, published by the Planning Commission of India. They also closely tie to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Privacy Principles and European Union’s Data Protection Directives.
(Image Source: opensource.com, https://flic.kr/p/84VZAr)The following post by Samyak Sibasish is the first in a series of posts analysing the effects of Social Media, specifically Facebook, on Privacy. This post focuses on the constitutional and tortuous dimensions of the issue, while the next one will focus on the contractual aspects of it. Samyak is a 3rd year student at NUJS, Kolkata. Apart from being interested in cricket and politics, he spends his time on reading on law and justice systems, more specifically caste. Additionally, being a social media freak, he likes to research on the curious myriad ways the world of social media interacts with the laws that govern it.
Of late, it has been confirmed by media that Facebook has seen a meteoric rise in its number of users over the past decade and if bracketed as a nation, it can be the fourth most populated nation in the world. It is but pertinent to examine how protected is users’ privacy on a social networking forum like Facebook.
In Foreign Lands: US and the EU
Earlier, I’ve given a broad picture of the data retention scenario in India. Now, I attempt to draw a comparison between India and other, more “advanced” jurisdictions such as the US and the EU.
Descriptively, data retention refers to the gathering and storing of information relating to subscribers’ use of telecommunications networks. This storage happens at a remote location, inaccessible to the user whose activities are the origin of the stored data. Typically, data retention protocols require the continuous collection of certain parameters from internet users and the maintenance of comprehensive records of user activity, in one form or another. Retention can be done at the ISP level, as a commercial decision on the part of the service provider, or at the regulatory level, as a national policy decision on the part of the State in order to achieve larger goals of law enforcement and public order. Over the course of two posts, I will attempt to construct a brief critique of the policies adopted, first narrating the Indian stance and then using contemporary global trends as a yardstick against which this stance can be measured.