Internal Facebook e-mails reveal how it gave others special access to user data

5 Dec 2018

As reported by CNBC, Damian Collins, a British MP, released confidential internal Facebook e-mails revealing discussions of payments for user data from certain companies, including Netflix and Airbnb. The e-mails detail the exchanges between Facebook’s chiefs regarding the threat of competitors, how to handle user data, and the possibility of major changes in the business model of the company. The BBC also reported that ‘the emails showed the firm had also sought to make it difficult for users to know about privacy changes, and had surreptitiously studied smartphone users' habits to identify and tackle rival apps’.

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Privacy and data protection are two interrelated Internet governance issues. Data protection is a legal mechanism that ensures privacy. Privacy is usually defined as the right of any citizen to control their own personal information and to decide about it (to disclose information or not). Privacy is a fundamental human right. It is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in many other international and regional human rights conventions. The July 2015 appointment of the first UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age reflects the rising importance of privacy in global digital policy, and the recognition of the need to address privacy rights issues the the global, as well as national levels.

 

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