Monday, July 06, 2009

The trouble with Facebook

By Michael J.W. Stickings


The wife of the new head of MI6 has caused a major security breach and left his family exposed after publishing photographs and personal details on Facebook.

Sir John Sawers is due to take over as chief of the Secret Intelligence Service in November, putting him in charge of all of Britain’s spying operations abroad.

But entries by his wife Shelley on the social networking site have exposed potentially compromising details about where they live and work, their friends’ identities and where they spend their holidays. On the day her husband was appointed she congratulated him on the site using his codename “C”.

Lady Sawers had put virtually no privacy protection on her account, making it visible to any of the site’s 200m users around the world who choose to be in the open-access London social network on Facebook.

Wait. The trouble with Facebook? No, not so much. Rather, it's the trouble with Facebook users, some of whom, apparently, have not a clue. (Though perhaps Facebook should have strict privacy as the default setting. If I'm not mistaken, that is not presently the case.)

You'd think Sir John would have had a chat with his wife about security, no? Did he never question her about her Facebook account? Did it never come up?

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