Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media websites gather data that you willingly post, like your name, qualification, relationship status, and where you live etc. These sites also frequently track the places you visit through your location online and what apps you use. The sites use that information to sell advertisements.
This exercise sounds fairly inoffensive, but after exposures in March 2018 that a political data firm, Cambridge Analytics, improperly harvested and used 87 million users’ personal data, the way Facebook and other websites treat personal information has been under increasing scrutiny. Unclear rules and careless administration of re-sharing original content on social media has spread the theft of the originators’ intellectual property.
In reply to the scandal, Facebook said it made things easier and integrating its privacy settings to make it stress-free for users to change how much private information they share. But can users be dependent on Internet companies to self-regulate when it comes to privacy? Most specialists say no.
The social media friends may not be your real friend where you can share everything. Where Facebook privacy settings permit viewership of posts by “friends,” the Government may access them through a cooperating observer who is a ‘friend’ without violating the law. When a person shares a photograph with his friends on social media, that person “has no reasonable hope that his ‘friends' would keep his profile private,” and any “real hope of privacy ended when he circulated posts to his ‘friends' because those ‘friends' were permitted to use the data nevertheless they required.”
You may have a real belief of privacy with respect to a journal you keep. But your activities in a remote, restricted, and tree-shielded home generate a stronger hope of privacy than your happenings in a tall apartment with the curtains open.
Eventually, privacy law safeguards people in social media the same way it safeguards them elsewhere. Your intentional posting of personal and intimate information puts aside any reasonable hope for privacy. But your privacy is still secure, and fully enforceable, in social media, when another person inadequately and without your permission posts private information about you.
Under these situations, no sensible person would have had a hope of privacy regarding the published data.
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