EFF – Facebook Tries to Make Violations of Terms of Use Into Criminal Violations

I used to be afraid of Google. Now, I’m more afraid of Facebook.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging a federal judge to dismiss Facebook’s claims that criminal law is violated when its users opt for an add-on service that helps them aggregate their information from a variety of social networking sites.

In a lawsuit against Power Ventures, Facebook claims that Power’s tool violates criminal law because Facebook’s terms of service ban users from accessing their information through “automatic means.”

Accessing information through automatic means is nothing new. Google Reader aggregates feeds from different sites. Seesmic can aggregate your social information from Twitter and Facebook and put it all in one place. Using Facebook’s argument, using something like Seesmic would constitute a criminal violation.

Read more at EFF Seeks to Protect Innovation for Social Network Users | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Why I’m Not A Fan Of Facebook

I’m still wary about social networking. I’m in LinkedIn for professional reasons, but haven’t gotten into the Facebook, MySpace, Twitter stuff. First of all, they pull crap like changing the Terms of Service without giving you a chance to opt out:

The Palo Alto-based social networking company now says in its terms of service that it will have unending and irrevocable license to use any content uploaded to its service, according to a posting on The Consumerist, a blog owned by the publisher of Consumer Reports

I don’t know who’s looking at the photos or what they’re doing with it. Besides the fact that I like some anonymity on the internet (yeah, I don’t want people, especially the  wierdos from elementary school searching my name and learning everything about me, my family, my work, etc), I don’t need companies changing the Terms of Service on the fly, especially to say they own my content forever. More info here from Neowin.net.

In general, when you put your name out on the internet, your photos, your blog, your messages, your rants…they’re there forever. They are stored on servers that are backed up constantly. What you post now, or write now, can be out there for a very long time, even if you try to delete it.  My suggestion is to stay anonymous. Use multiple email addresses, each for different things, don’t post your name, address, telephone number for all to see.