Words @ War: Jessica Smith

Imagine many strangers obtaining your cell phone number and home address without your knowledge; it’s frightening, isn’t it?

Well, they can if you use Facebook and list such information in your profile. The company subtly made the announcement in January. This new policy allows Facebook to allow third parties to request access to users’ addresses and phone numbers.

This is a serious violation of the privacy and rights of Facebook users and should not be permitted. Although I choose not to list my cell phone number and home address, I still believe those who do shouldn’t have their privacy jeopardized.

Four senators even wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to revoke his plans about the new policy – this is a serious matter if government figures are getting involved.

The democratic senators – Al Franken, Chuck Schumer, Sheldon Whitehouse and Richard Blumenthal – stated in the letter that although Facebook would follow protocol and ask for the users’ permission, allowing Facebook to release personal information to third parties still presents serious dangers.

These serious dangers include the risk of being stalked, identity theft, and credit card theft. This policy would make it even easier for individuals to be victims of such crimes.

A story regarding the issue on the website The Huffington Post included that the senators noted not everyone may understand the potential implications of letting applications access their data, especially younger users.

Out of the 147 million Americans on Facebook, 13 million are teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17. So, I’m guessing this makes it easier for child predators and pedophiles to stalk children; how disturbing and scary is that?

Facebook also released a statement in response to the reports stating: “Despite some rumors, there’s no way for other websites to access a user’s address or phone number from Facebook. For people that may find this option useful in the future, we’re considering ways to let them share this information (for example, to use an online shopping site without always having to re-type their address). People will always be in control of what Facebook information they share with apps and websites.”

No matter how secure one can make their Facebook, it will never be fully secure. n