Report: Facebook Is Creating ‘Shadow Profiles’


A European privacy group has filed a complaint with the Irish Data Commissioner alleging that Facebook is breaking privacy laws by compiling shadow profiles of people who have never signed up with the social network.

Apparently by collecting data from users, the complaint said, it compiles data on nonusers from user mobile phones, importing personal data or sent personal invitations to join Facebook and is working on "shadow profiles."

From Macleans: What we don’t know is what Facebook is doing with this info. Are they storing it indefinitely or destroying it? Are they compiling and aggregating it—matching an email address you typed in last year with a phone number you synced yesterday to a name you mentioned in today’s status update? Is Facebook mapping these individuals in a hidden social graph? Are they building an alleged network of “Shadow Profiles”? If so, why?

We don't think it's anything quite so nefarious -- at least nothing more nefarious than what Spokeo, iSearch and are doing. Names, addresses, birthdates and even partial social security numbers are available from any number of information services, based on public information. If Facebook decides to offer a similar service, it will be creepy but not illegal, or unheard of, in the United States.

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