That personal data you just handed to Facebook? Trade secret!

I absolutely love Techdirt. Mostly, because they’re usually the first ones to break a story that, well, could really use a bit more exposure. Like this one, in which an advocacy group based in Europe is trying to find out what Facebook holds of your personal information, and what they do with it. Except, well, Facebook isn’t cooperating.

The group’s founder, Max Schrems, received a reply to his request for the data Facebook held about him in the form of a CD-ROM storing over 800 pages. But
looking through them, Schrems noticed that important information was missing, and so contacted Facebook again, asking for the extra details. But
Facebook refused

And why, pray tell, would Facebook do such a thing? Well, Facebook was asked.

To date, we have disclosed all personal data to which you are entitled pursuant to Section 4 of the Irish Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 (the Acts).
Please note that certain categories of personal data are exempted from subject access requests. Pursuant to Section 4(9) of the Acts, personal data which
is impossible to furnish or which can only be furnished after disproportionate effort is exempt from the scope of a subject access request. We have not
furnished personal data which cannot be extracted from our platform in the absence of disproportionate effort.
Section 4(12) of the Acts carves out an exception to subject access requests where the disclosures in response would adversely affect trade secrets or intellectual
property. We have not provided any information to you which is a trade secret or intellectual property of Facebook Ireland Limited or its licensors.

So, basicly, Facebook will give you any and all information you ask it to, about you–except that which is covered by intelectual property–read: copyright–laws or which is considered a trade secret. So much for personal information being, well, personal, hmm? And folks wonder why I have such an opinion on internet privacy.

1 comment
  1. Great post, and thanks for sharing. This is EXACTLY why the only information I post on these sites is stuff that is public already. These agencies aren’t in a contract with you to be your confidant, but people still treat them as such.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *