The social networking site launched in February 2004 as of now comprises around 800 million active users around the world -Facebook. Developed as Facemash in Harvard for the purpose to choose the Hottest person on the Facemash. The developer of the website Mark Zuckerberg Hacked into the Harvard ‘secure’ computer network and copied the private dormitory ID images in an illegitimate way and uploaded them into his website Facemash, placing them next to each other asking its user to choose the hottest. After complaints about the website within few days of its launch Harvard authorities shut the website and charged the Mark Zuckerberg for breaching the privacy and security of the individuals.
This illegitimate act later turned into a billion dollar business establishment making the founder and CEO of the Facebook Mark Zuckerberg the youngest Billioner at the age of 23; and in 2010 Times magazine named him as the Person of the Year.
Facebook the so called social networking website has built a massive network of people around the world with their personal information some of them genuine and some bogus. People behind the profiles can easily disguise their real identity.
Technical flaws of any website can be minimal but they are inevitable. The safety and security threat to the individual’s data on the website are discussed vehemently now-a-days after some serious loop holes were exposed in the websites specially in its flaunted feature of privacy.
Majority of us share personal pictures and videos on Facebook unaware that we are actually uploading them on the remote machines which are miles and miles away from us and inaccessible to us. Once we upload any picture or video on the Facebook they are stored on the Facebook owned servers (machines). As per the recent information Facebook possess 60000 servers or more; this count will be growing and our data can be stored in any of them.  In case a user wants to delete uploaded pictures or videos they can do so and user will not be able to view them any more creating an illusion that data was deleted permanently but the question arises are they really being deleted forever? 
Answer is a Big NO. They still exist on the servers of Facebook and are very much intact; it’s only the user who has lost access to them after deleting them from his profile. This in technical language is called “Soft Delete” in which actual data remains intact but only the address of the memory location with which they were accessed is lost so the user is not able to view them anymore. If authorities having access to those machines wish they can retrieve data back with simple data recovery tools which simply compromises the privacy of the user.
This Soft Delete concept is very much true on our personal machines or memory sticks also whenever we store any kind of data in them and later delete, the actual data remains intact but memory address of the data gets lost so the data is not visible to us anymore. But we can easily retrieve deleted data by using any simple data recovery tool widely available in the market. Those data recovery tools are also used by Data forensic teams to recover deleted data from machines. Those tools retrieve whatever they find on the disk by passing the traditional way of accessing data through memory addresses.
The only way to erase data forever from the machines are either to destroy the disk completely or over write data by new data which will eventually erases the previous data. Deleting data permanently is called “Purging”. In case of our personal machine we will be able to do that easily  because they are  in our purview but problem arises when we upload our personal pictures or videos on remote machines which are miles and miles away from us and are very much in accessible. Once we upload them user should know that data is very much out of his/her reach; in that condition who will ensure that our pictures and videos are in safe hands and not being used for malicious purposes?
Laws may be there to stop such incidents but we witness how laws are far from implementation and can be misused for personal gains.
We may not be aware that countries like US are spending millions and millions of dollars on Mind Controlling programs. Money is being pumped in such programs to get more and more grip on how to influence people’s thought processing systems, their understanding and perception of things with their own ideology. One of the most successful projects to achieve the same is “Hollywood” which is called as America’s Dream machine. With this dream machine Americans have successfully influenced some peoples thought processing and inclined them to think the way they want them to think. They had successfully projected Muslims as the third world people who are uncultured, unethical and ruthless.
There are speculations that data of the public domain like Facebook are sold to agencies. Social networking data is being very much used for such studies which gives the glimpse of how people behaves and react on certain condition which allows think tanks to learn the reaction of the people. Jamie Bartlett, the lead author of a recently published report on European digital populism by British think tank Demos says Facebook’s stash of personal information is so encyclopedic that the researchers could simply use.
The Facebook privacy policy once stated, “We may use information about you that we collect from other sources, including but not limited to newspapers and Internet sources such as blogs, instant messaging services and other users of Facebook, to supplement your profile”.
Facebook is tracking user information even if user logs out of the website by using Cookies (it’s a small file injected into the users browser to save the session details; this always goes unnoticed specially by the people who are not well versed with technology). This was confessed by the Facebook authority that they do track the information of the user even if user logs out and in an official report said “Trust Us”!!!

Author is a software professional working for the KpitCummins, a Pune based MNC.
Feedback: salman7622@gmail.com

Lastupdate on : Thu, 26 Jan 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 26 Jan 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 27 Jan 2012 00:00:00 IST

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