Thursday, September 29, 2011

Overwhelming personal data volumes

Under European data protection legislation it's possible to request a copy of the information held about you on any given service. Yesterday I saw reports that one such request to Facebook yielded more than 800 pages of information!

The detailed report showed that Facebook stores
  • Name, address, date of birth, friends
  • Messages you have deleted and private messages
  • Which events you decided not to attend as well as those you did
  • The last location you accessed Facebook from
  • A list of every single machine you ever logged into Facebook from
  • Who has poked you
  • Political and religious, and much more...
Of course, this is pretty much just the information that the user has entered into Facebook; it's just a bit odd when you see it all collated nicely together! For what it's worth, I heard someone describe how the equivalent information from Amazon ran to a similar length, including what passages they'd highlighted in the Kindle books they'd read, and the notes they'd made.
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