Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Barnardos call for protection of children on Facebook

Barnardos Chief Executive Fergus Finlay has called on Facebook to provide an identity verification system to combat the use of Facebook by child predators who pretend to be children themselves. I would support such a system. I have spoken before about Facebook's shortcomings regarding security. Unfortunately, Facebook are in denial and do not believe there is a problem with the security of their system. This leads me to believe that Facebook will do nothing to respond to the very real concerns of the children's charity Barnardos. Perhaps if enough people in the world supported a motion as important as this, then maybe, just maybe, Facebook would sit up and take notice.

The other issue raised by Barnardos was that Facebook are not registered with the Data Protection Commissioner despite their continued retention of millions of users' (including children) personal data. I would be only too happy if the Data Protection Commissioner had the power to audit Facebook, but unfortunately, Facebook are registered outside of the state and therefore are not required to register with the Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland.

The only true solution here is to send a message to parents to educate their children as to the safe use of the Internet. We cannot just sit back and shout at Facebook as Fergus Finlay appears to be doing. People must act responsibly when online and encourage children to do the same.

Come on people. Let us help ourselves. We do not need to be spoon fed by a US Corporation who could not care less about anyone! If we intend on waiting for Facebook to make their system more secure, we will be left waiting for a long time.

All the best,


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