Social Networking sites include financial motivation generating revenues from the information that users upload. As usual, the usage of most sites is free, and Social Networking sites have to compensate for the cost incurred by getting revenues from their users’ identity-relevant information. The best way to attain this is to create user’s marketing profiles along with serving them with targeted advertisements. The Social Networking sites get a lot of information on their users and these users can not bargain over the terms disclosing the information, control surfaces architecture, as a result, these users are susceptible to harms (Davidrip 2008).
Moreover, the private information posted online along with the data outlining their actions and interactions with other individuals can produce a full profile of a given user’s interests and pose the main risks to identity thefts, loss of job or even business opportunities. Even the most secretive firms are now not free from the public eye in the modern era of social networking.
Nevertheless, Edwards & Brown (2009) think against the claim that social network sites should be covered by privacy laws. They are sure that legal regime regarding privacy concerns on social networking sites does not restrict users’ ability to give up personal information. Anyway, the future of both technology and law will require reconciling the users’ desire to self-saying information along with their desire to protect the personal information.
Furthermore, it is possible that the personal information security and user privacy are irreconcilable with the set of users’ preferences as regards information sharing behaviours and the necessity of using technology to do so. Additionally, social networking sites have the up-to-the-minute and perhaps the most problematical case survey so far of technologies whereby users’ desire information security along with control clash with their self-saying wish.
Despite the fact that the law might provide some protections on the information control, the code aspects propose equally essential means of reaching a golden middle between the expectations of users on information security along with the privacy and their desire to share the information.
However, the fact of preventing users from information-based harm is also a reason of supporting the idea that social networking sites might be covered by privacy laws. Besides, some activities harming users need exact information on the data subject before execution, for example, social security number to get credit. People can use the specific information, such as your address and current employer, to determine when you are not available at home. As a result, the possibility of criminals breaking into your house is becoming bigger. (Davidrip 2008). That is why, the social network sites should be covered by privacy laws.
Meanwhile, Lange (2007) is against the claim that social network sites should be covered by privacy laws. He says that by doing so, communication technologies may erode the boundaries between publicity and privacy. Besides, Lange (2007) goes on arguing that the massive bodies that are used by individuals and public as the organizing categories are not always themselves informed by a careful deliberation of the meanings in addition to the results of the concepts themselves.
This observation was proved with the latest studies on private and public distinction in deliberated contexts. There are a lot of latest studies arguing about public and private media that do not recognize nuanced meanings. Lange (2007) argues that what must be considered is how the contexts other than what is being analyzed in order to clear the public /private dimensions.
SNS might be covered by privacy law because their users are only considered as data subjects but not as controllers. Therefore, they are exempted from the protection responsibility of their own privacy. In this case users use the SNS on behalf of companies that use these sites mostly as platforms for their commercial goals increasing. Besides, Hargittal (2008) argues that where a company has to collect the users’ personal information, it should first have their approval before publishing their private information or images. Additionally, they should develop a mechanism according to which users will be able to employ expressing their privacy concerns on the application.
On the other hand, according to Collins (2008), the privacy concerns plaguing social networking sites can only be solved in case the users take a more careful approach on what they share along with how much they share. Besides, increased privacy settings are not always guarantee of privacy. Furthermore, the social networks are becoming bigger; and as a result, since the security programmers’ tasks have become expansive, it is getting more difficult to monitor protect site users and their activities.
Meanwhile, Collins (2008) also shows an example of the Facebook loophole application, arguing that when the faulty API was shown to public, Facebook amended the wording of the agreement of the users, though there was nothing that technically solved the problem.
Finally, Gross & Acquisti (2005) say that there is also another reason why the social networking sites should be covered by privacy. This reason is based on the fact that certain bugs and exploits of technical functions of these sites are the main aim of hackers owing to limited security measures being deployed by the majority of SNS. For example, there is no secure links methods present on a number of these sites.
Moreover, such basic measures as encryption don’t exist. As a consequence, this has enable to open up threats, for example, the interception of the password, commercial information mining along with the database reverse-engineering. Gross & Acquisti (2005) argues that this should be in the position to provide a genuine support for SNS, being covered by the laws of privacy.
It should be also mentioned that according to Westin (2003), there is no threat to SNS users and the high profiled cases on identity theft and stalking cases among businesses or even government record systems are the increasing risks connected to privacy and security in recent years. After all, different users understand privacy differently. Furthermore, the risks that the wicked users will join particular groups or networks to exploit genuine users might be deemed not a great threat. Hence, law should not be extended to agree to privacy protection for things which is expressed in the public domain. Instead, we need just a basic warning of the likely pitfalls that comes with such freedom.
To sum up, according to the above analysis, there are many opinions on the idea whether or not the social networking sites should be covered by privacy law. The opinions are different. When we want to accommodate these opinions, we need to have a more colloquial approach. The activities causing specific harms are to be identified and constrained. Furthermore, the site owners are suggested to develop and start a policy development process that will ensure pertinent actors jointly identify preventive measures. That will minimize the privacy risks for SNS users.