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Recommended Read: Mashable Post on Who Owns Your Data

Last week posted a great article by Alistair Croll talking about Who Owns Your Data that I think is a worthwhile read.  With all of the privacy and security concerns of late this is definitely a hot topic for many individuals and businesses—and it should be.  Privacy and security when it comes to data collection and making that data accessible is something that Visible Technologies takes very seriously.  We place a great importance on it for our own peace of mind with the obvious ethical and legal matters that are involved, but also because whatever actions and decisions we make ultimately affect our business partners and clients that work with us.

Data collection, ownership and distribution is often a very murky area to navigate as individual websites can have varying policies and others in the intelligence market take liberties or just leave holes in their systems until someone notices and they get their hand slapped.  For this reason Visible Technologies always makes every effort possible to make sure we are legally entitled to the data we collect and work with and are careful with how we use and share the data.  One question that frequently comes up with clients is our ability to collect data from behind password protected sites.  We do have the technical ability to do so with our proprietary web crawling and harvesting technology.

I thought it might be helpful to those interested in learning more about us to better understand how we respond and handle such requests for protected content.  Many sites prohibit the use by anyone, or machine, to use another person’s login and password, even with permission from the account holder, to collect data.  If this is the case, we will not be able to collect from a site.  Facebook is an excellent and clear example of this when it comes to personal pages.  They have explicit legally enforceable terms and conditions that prohibit anyone from collecting that content.  To make sure that Visible Technologies is in the clear, and by extension all of our clients, we will only collect from password protected sites we have the written permission of the account holder to use their account and written acknowledgement from the site owner/admin that we are allowed to collect from the site.

What are some of your greatest concerns with privacy and legality issues surrounding social media and data collection?

For further reading on this topic, check out the following post from our Director of Legal Affairs,  Molly Ward, J.D. Communications Privacy and Information Security in Social Media.

Tags : social media

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