The personal information of over 100 million Facebook users has been gathered and published online, according to MSNBC. Ron Bowes, an online security consultant, used code to scan the 500 million existing Facebook profiles and gathered all the information that was not protected by privacy settings. Bowes then create a downloadable file and posted it to the Internet site The Pirate Bay, where it has already been downloaded by several thousand people.
This is raising concern as millions of Facebook users realize that their information is now on display to the public and readily available to anyone with internet access. And yet, that leads to Facebook’s main angle of defense – the information that has been compiled in this file and is now available to the public has always been just that – personal information that was always available to the public.
Bowes was able to gather this information because privacy settings were not set in the first place; his major feat was that he managed to compile them all into one document. The information collected was already made available through a normal search using Google, Bing, or Facebook itself. While it is shocking and disturbing to learn that 100 million people’s personal information has been compiled and published, it seems more disturbing that these Facebook users allowed it to be available to the public to begin with.