Over the last couple days, facebook has seen some page space in the news. “A tweak to Facebook’s permissions and privacy settings mean[t] third-party developers [could] . . . access your home address and phone number, warned security firm Sophos.” This caused, understandably, many to be worried and remove their phone numbers (or change their phone numbers – several people changed their phone numbers to the customer service number for Facebook) and addresses from facebook as recommened by Graham Cluely (Sophos – security company – blogger).
Facebook’s first response was to assure users that on Facebook you have absolute control over what information you share, who you share it with and when you want to remove it . . . Developers can now request permission to access a person’s address and mobile phone number to make applications built on Facebook more useful and efficient.
When that response did not appear to be satisfactory, Facebook temporarily disabled the feature and is now working on changing aspects of it to become more secure, with the goal of refining it to help people understand that they’re intentionally choosing to share such information. In short, the new feature will give users the option of choosing to share phone numbers and addresses with third party applications.
In part the safety and security of our personal information is up to us. Ignorance of the dangers involved is not an option anymore. Many times we choose to give information out. Now, I’m well aware that this isn’t often the case (our personal information is sold or stolen without our knowledgeable consent). But we do have many choices we can make, for instance whether we will use Facebook (or other online social media sites) and what information we will give them or allow them to pass to third parties. As always, wisdom must be exercised.