Facebook won the prestigious “Big Brother” Award in Belgium on Tuesday, making it one of the biggest privacy-offenders of the year.
The award, named after the tyrannical government featured in George Orwell’s “1984” novel, makes Facebook the “biggest privacy-offender of the year,” according to the Flemish League for Human rights.
The public confirmed Facebook’s title as the ultimate privacy villain of the year – a big majority of the votes went to the social network that is successfully harvesting and generating personal data from people all around the world.
“Facebook is a multi-billion dollar company that has one commodity – you!” said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights.
Facebook has access to a wide range of personal data, and it tracks your movements across the web, whether you are logged in or not. And the devil is in the default: To opt out, you are expected to navigate Facebook’s complex web of settings.
“We nominated Facebook for the award because their default settings are noxious for privacy. To understand what privacy you are giving away when you use Facebook… well, that is impossible. Data algorithms that can make new assumptions about users are being constantly developed – even Facebook today would have difficulty knowing how they will use your data tomorrow,” said McNamee.
The Big Brother Awards are based on a concept created by EDRi member Privacy International. The goal is to draw attention to violations of privacy.