The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Undiscriminating Facebook users at risk 

I've blogged before about Facebook. I like the service and I especially like the privacy controls they've built into the system. Users control how much information they make available, either to strangers or friends. Most users who give any thought to privacy lock down what information is made available to the world at large and only let chosen "friends" have access to the piles of pesonal information that most users put online.

The distinction in Facebook is always between "friends" and others. But the user's only defence is carefully choosing who is let into that select group.

Unfortunately, more than four in ten users will let anyone (including a frog) be their friend. Sophos did a recent study, setting up a fake profile of a frog and sent out 200 friend requests. More than forty percent of the requests were accepted, allowing those who created the frog profile to see their personal information. (See: Sophos Facebook ID probe shows 41% of users happy to reveal all to potential identity thieves.)

"So what?" you might ask. Many Facebook users' profiles contain:

  • Full name
  • Home address
  • Full date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Information on relatives
  • Information on friends
  • Work information

If I know your address, your full name, your employer and your date of birth, that's enough to fill out a credit card application in your name. (Not that I would!)

Promiscuous, undiscriminating Facebook users beware!

Thanks for the link: B.L. Ochman's weblog: Internet marketing strategy, social media trends, news and commentary.: Would You "Friend" a Fake Frog on Facebook? Four in 10 Did.

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