Dan Nosowitz at Fast Company reports a Gizmodo news that says “[...] The data collected was public, of course–all of these corporations could have just found this data on Google. But after white hat hacker (the good kind, if your definition of “good” is malleable) Ron Bowles collected all of this public data and smushed it into one massive file, it may have sparked an interest that wouldn’t have existed otherwise. Sure, these companies could have found this data elsewhere, at any time–but they likely didn’t. [...] [The list of companies, reported by Gizmodo is the one that follows]:
A.C. Nielsen; Agilent Technologies; Apple; AT&T, possibly Macrovision; Baker & McKenzie; BBC; Bertelsmann Media; Boeing; Church of Scientology; Cisco Systems; Cox Enterprises; Davis Polk & Wardwell; Deutsche Telekom; Disney; Duracell; Ernst & Young; Fujitsu; Goldman Sachs; Halliburton; HBO & Company; Hilton Hospitality; Hitachi; HP; IBM; Intel; Intuit; Levi Strauss & Co.; Lockheed-Martin Corp; Lucasfilm; Lucent Technologies; Matsushita Electric Industrial Co; Mcafee; MetLife; Mitsubishi; Motorola; Northrop Grumman; Novell; Nvidia; O’Melveny & Myers; Oracle Corp; Pepsi Cola; Procter and Gamble; Random House; Raytheon; Road Runner RRWE; Seagate; Sega; Siemens AG; Sony Corporation; Sprint; Sun Microsystems; Symantec; The Hague; Time Warner Telecom; Turner Broadcasting System; Ubisoft Entertainment; Unisys; United Nations; Univision; USPS; Viacom; Vodafone; Wells Fargo; Xerox PARC. [...]” (full article at http://www.fastcompany.com/1675872/major-companies-are-downloading-the-data-from-those-100-million-public-facebook-profiles).
Again is the proof that Facebook is not safe in any way and that, generally speaking, the net is not the safest place to keep datas.
Unfortunately, the internet is a big and complex structure, while Facebook is a privately held company without the basic knowledge on how to safely treat datas (either personal or not).
A company holding informations (sensitive or not) of about 1/12 of world population should not be authorized to do so without a clear proof of their capabilities in safeguarding datas.
But this covers about the half of the problem, because the other part is people putting personal datas everywhere without having theknowledge of the uses and availability the datas.
I think that while a serious action should be taken against Facebook (at least to make them think of the problems they are causing), on users consciousness is a battle lost before starting.
This post as a comment also at http://www.fastcompany.com/1675872/major-companies-are-downloading-the-data-from-those-100-million-public-facebook-profiles