European Privacy Standards Could Force Changes for Social Networks

I saw this story on the NNSquad mailing list. This highlights the differences in views toward privacy in Europe and the US. In particular, as the article explains, Germany and Switzerland are much more protective of user privacy. The issue they take with the likes of Facebook and other social services is how they allow registered users to post personal information about people who may not even be signed up.

This appears to be of a piece with the requirement that people’s face be fuzzed out in Google’s Street View. Google in particular seems to have enough experience to start anticipating these concerns. The article points out they intentionally, and smartly, held off on facial recognition for their Goggles service.

I am curious whether this continued pressure will result in more differences between the experiences of users in different jurisdictions, like with Street View, or services will just cave to the pressure to run a single, more privacy conscious version everywhere. In the case of privacy concerns, I think the latter would be a nice windfall for the US which doesn’t have as strong a notion of privacy from corporations as elsewhere.

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