Rami Olwan

All About CyberLaw, Copyright and Developing Countries

“Web 2.0, Facebook and Social Networking: Law and Policy” A presentation by Mozelle Thompson

I attended a presentation entitled “Web 2.0, Facebook and Social Networking: Law and Policy” by the legal consultant for Facebook Mr. Mozelle Thompson (see him below in a You Tube video).

Although the presentation was pretty short since the guest came late, and we had to leave the room that had been designated for us, I enjoyed the talk. Mr. Thomson spoke about how Facebook changed certain myths and misconceptions that information must remain secret and being anonymous is a good thing in the age of the internet.  Mr. Thomson talked about the requests that Facebook is continuously receiving from governments in Arab countries to give information about certain Facebook users.

He added that Facebook has a firm policy that no information is given unless there is a serious eminent danger that is going to happen. Mr. Thomson did not provide further details on how this will be evaluated and on what basis, but he mentioned that Facebook can’t determine that alone, and relies basically on the users themselves to inform it of anything happening.

He mentioned also that Facebook is currently running in 26 languages, and there are many challenges that Facebook will have to deal with including most importantly how to translate their privacy policies in accordance with the different laws. I have asked Mr. Thomson about whether they have consulted a law firm specialising in internet laws in the Arab world about these issues, and he mentioned that they are still haven’t done so, but they may do that in the future.

He added that there is misconception by the general public that information can be deleted instantly once a Facebook users wish to do so, but this does not really happen as information will be overwritten in the systems. He emphasised that there will remain minor statistics information after a Facebook user chooses to delete his account particularly related to the number of users within a certain network or a country.

I think that discussion of legal issues that Facebook will deal with, not only in terms of intellectual property rights (trademarks and copyright), but also in connection with other laws mainly privacy laws will be very interesting from a developing country perspective since the number of users are constantly increasing and these issues will come out one way or another. To view the flyer for the presentation, please click here.

Read this document on Scribd: MThompsonflyerThurs14

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