Perimeter
6/25/2009
01:57 PM
Sara Peters
Sara Peters
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

EU Group: Social Networks, Thirty-Party App Developers Subject To EU Privacy Laws

I just took a close look at the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party's opinion report on online social networking. While some of its recommendations are what you'd expect, others came as a surprise.

I just took a close look at the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party's opinion report on online social networking. While some of its recommendations are what you'd expect, others came as a surprise.The report (PDF) "principally is intended to provide guidance to SNS [social network service] providers on the measures that need to be in place to ensure compliance with EU law." Social network providers, both inside and outside of the EU, ought to pay heed to this report -- but they're not the only ones. The app developers who use the social networks' APIs to build apps for those platforms should also give it a close read. So should users, whether you use the service for personal reasons or use it for professional reasons -- particularly if your organization is using social networks for marketing purposes.

The Working Party is an independent European advisory board on data protection and privacy. Some of the Party's recommendations are not out of the blue: making users very aware of how their data is being used; more secure default settings; deleting all a user's account data immediately after they cancel their account, etc.

Others, however, are less expected.

For example, the Party recommends that SNS should allow users to adopt a pseudonym. Although rarely enforced, one of Facebook's terms of service is that user's must use their real name. (I'll give Facebook this: Last year I found users named "Fake Name," "Faketh Nameth," and "Betsy Faken Namer," to name a few. I did not, however, find any such people in my Facebook people search today.)

The Party's rationale for the "allow pseudonyms" recommendation is "Article 6 para 1 letter c) of the [EU] Data Protection Directive requires the data to be 'adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purposes for which they are collected and/or further processed.' In this context, it can be observed that SNS may need to register some identifying data about members but does not need to publish the real name of members on the Internet."

The strong privacy rules also apply to those miscreants whose dirty deeds get them banned from these SNS. The recommendations say "Some SNS also retain identification data of users who were banned from the service, to ensure that they cannot register again. In that case, these users must be informed that such processing is taking place. In addition, the only information that may be retained is identification information, and not the reasons why these persons were banned. This information should not be retained for more than one year." It is not clear to me whether by "this information" they mean only the "reasons why these persons were banned" or the identification information as well. I've contacted the Working Party to get some clarification.

The Party also says that third-party application developers may in some cases be considered "data controllers" which means they may also be subject to these privacy mandates. For example, the app developers are advised not to perform any operations on imported user contacts' data other than personal usage.

Further, they advise the social network services and marketers that any "behavioral marketing"--which selects which ads to serve up to users based on observation and analysis of those users' activity over time--is rather naughty as well.

Note well, these are recommendations, not official mandates. They're not made to get in trouble; rather they're made to keep you out of trouble.

Now ain't that neighborly? Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-3409
Published: 2014-10-25
The Ethernet Connectivity Fault Management (CFM) handling feature in Cisco IOS 12.2(33)SRE9a and earlier and IOS XE 3.13S and earlier allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (device reload) via malformed CFM packets, aka Bug ID CSCuq93406.

CVE-2014-4620
Published: 2014-10-25
The EMC NetWorker Module for MEDITECH (aka NMMEDI) 3.0 build 87 through 90, when EMC RecoverPoint and Plink are used, stores cleartext RecoverPoint Appliance credentials in nsrmedisv.raw log files, which allows local users to obtain sensitive information by reading these files.

CVE-2014-4623
Published: 2014-10-25
EMC Avamar 6.0.x, 6.1.x, and 7.0.x in Avamar Data Store (ADS) GEN4(S) and Avamar Virtual Edition (AVE), when Password Hardening before 2.0.0.4 is enabled, uses UNIX DES crypt for password hashing, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to obtain cleartext passwords via a brute-force a...

CVE-2014-4624
Published: 2014-10-25
EMC Avamar Data Store (ADS) and Avamar Virtual Edition (AVE) 6.x and 7.0.x through 7.0.2-43 do not require authentication for Java API calls, which allows remote attackers to discover grid MCUser and GSAN passwords via a crafted call.

CVE-2014-6151
Published: 2014-10-25
CRLF injection vulnerability in IBM Tivoli Integrated Portal (TIP) 2.2.x allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary HTTP headers and conduct HTTP response splitting attacks via unspecified vectors.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.