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New Instagram Privacy Policy

Starting January 16, 2013, a new Instagram privacy policy will allow the company to share data with Facebook. Instagram updated a few sections of its privacy policy to reflect that it is part of social media giant, Facebook. This means that Instagram can share information such as cookies, log files, device identifiers, location data and usage data with “businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Instagram is part of.”

According to the company’s blog, this is a great advancement:

“Our updated privacy policy helps Instagram function more easily as part of Facebook by being able to share info between the two groups. This means we can do things like fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used.”

One of the biggest changes is around how the company deals with users’ personal data. While it promises that users will still have complete control over who can see content, as well as where it is shared, both Facebook and Instagram will be getting closer in terms of exchanging user information.

Instagram’s Privacy Policy now reads:

“We may share User Content and your information (including but not limited to, information from cookies, log files, device identifiers, location data, and usage data) with businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Instagram is part of, or that become part of that group (“Affiliates”). Affiliates may use this information to help provide, understand, and improve the Service (including by providing analytics) and Affiliates’ own services (including by providing you with better and more relevant experiences). But these Affiliates will honor the choices you make about who can see your photos.”

This change might mean that privacy-conscious users will be deleting their accounts in the coming days. Instagram’s move amounts to saying that it owns the perpetual right to license all photos on its site to other firms or organizations for publicity purposes. Another concerning change is that ads will not necessarily be distinguishable from other user content. Also it will be up to users to back up their photos.

Of course, these changes have resulted in complaints amongst Instagram users, many threatening to leave the service. Wired has even provided a step-by-step guide for users to download their photos and upload them to another photo service.

On the other hand, some think that users are overreacting and should just see Instagram for what it is – a business interested in making money. According to Sam Biddle from Gizmodo:

“This prospect is so outrageous to some people that they’re fed up with the program, which costs zero dollars to download and zero dollars to use, and are going to take their non-money elsewhere. What none of these hair-pulling photo-sharing apocalypse-moaners neglect to mention is that Instagram’s a business.”

Let’s see if this makes a big enough splash to have the company reconsider its policy change, or if users will have to adapt…

Summary

 

CIPP Exam Preparation

In preparation for the Certified Information Privacy Professional/Information Technology (CIPP/IT), a privacy professional should be comfortable with topics related to this post, including:

  • Privacy expectations – the consumer perspective (II.A.a.)
  • Privacy expectations – organizational practices (II.A.b.)
  • Unauthorized account access or data sharing (II.C.b.iv.)
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