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Facebook Accuses Users of Breaking Law by Accessing Their Own Information

Sometimes it seems like every day that goes by ends with at least one story showing Facebook continuing its descent from “awesome website for college kids” to “incredibly frightening Orwellian nightmare.” Today’s involves a court case in which Facebook is suing a website that allows users to log into all of their social media profiles at one time. Facebook doesn’t like the idea of people accessing their profiles through a means not run by them so they’re claiming that Power Ventures is making a criminal violation by violating Facebook terms of service. However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation just sent out a press release arguing that, if Facebook’s lawsuit goes through, they would be able to prosecute any Facebook user who used Power Ventures and make them a criminal for looking at their own profile!

From the press release:

“‘California’s computer crime law is aimed at penalizing computer trespassers,’ said EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick. ‘Users who choose to give their usernames and passwords to aggregators like Power Ventures are not trespassing. Under Facebook’s theory, millions of Californians who disregard or don’t read terms of service on the websites they visit could face criminal liability. Also, any Internet company could use this argument as a hammer to prevent its users from easily leaving the service as well as to shut down innovators and competitors.’

Even the simple use of the automatic login feature of most browsers would constitute a violation under Facebook’s theory, since those services are ‘automatic means’ for logging in. But the risk for users is even broader. If any violation of terms of use is criminal, users who shave a few years off their age in their profile, claim to be single when they are married, or change jobs or addresses without updating Facebook right away would also have violated the criminal law.”

Granted, Facebook is an amazing tool that has revolutionized the way we keep in touch, store photos, remember important dates, and more. We are just really worried about the way the company is going. As it gets more and more powerful, stories like this one become more and more worrying. So please, Facebook, change the direction you’re headed because we really do love you. And, more importantly, we would love to stop writing articles bad mouthing a company that has so many incriminating photos of us.

God, the pictures from that one “Anything but Clothes” party alone would be enough to ruin us…

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