Valleywag has an article on how Facebook will share your private profile with your boss, possibly in non-compliance with its own privacy policy. The wording is rather boilerplate, but what interests me is the following language:

“…good faith belief that an information request by law enforcement or private litigants meets applicable legal standards…”

Valleywag apparently noticed the privacy language did not seem to provide Facebook’s administrators with any privilege to share his profile with his employer, and dryly comment on this by talking about “imminent harm”.

This presents some potentially interested problems to which I haven’t sat down and examined closely. Namely, whether privacy policy is part of the user agreement embodied in the Facebook terms-of-service agreement, and whether the user agreement is enforceable. If so, does the Facebook agreement set out arbitration or limitations of liability for breaking its own policies? Although I’m on Facebook, and read (yes, I do that…) the TOS, I’m afraid I have to admit I don’t remember what I had agreed to.

On an impulse feel, though, it’s interesting that what one says they will do legally is different from what administrators will do. And this isn’t a surprise, because most employees in the technology field probably do not approach questions about online policy and administration in quite the same way as a business contract or lawyer.

In my view, this could be a potentially new field for lawyers to help educate over.

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