Privacy in Social Network Sites

Privacy and Identity-relevant Information in Social Network Sites

David Riphagen quoted in Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad

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Today, I got quoted in the Dutch National Newspaper NRC Handelsblad. Read the Dutch article as you scroll down this post, but also, let me give you a short English summary:

A Dutch woman is convicted for libel because she called her ex-husband a pedophile on a profile on Dutch SNS Hyves. The profile was, and this makes the case interesting, set to private. The Dutch judge stated that even this private profile, only visible for friends, was public, because anyone who was a friend of the woman could see it. And anyone could become here friend, by adding her to their friends list.

In the article, I mention that in the USA, prosecutors and lawyers already use SNS in court cases. Earlier, I blogged about the case of Joshua Lipton, who was charged with driving under influence, see my earlier post. The journalist, Marie-José Klaver (check her blog in Dutch), also mentions the Electronic Privacy Information Center as my American host for my graduation research.

Then the CEO of Hyves says that the police can not copy information from Hyves, because that is in conflict with his Terms-of-Use. (This is a very awkward statement to make, as if Hyves’ Term-of-Use is not subject to laws that allow criminal investigations). He also mentions the new privacy controls they are publishing next week.

In response, I reply that although I do think that Hyves is working seriously on  these privacy controls, they still (like Facebook) allow third parties to access data of friends without their consent.

The article ends with Remco Pijpers, from the Dutch organization Stichting Kind Online (translated as: child online), saying that we in he Netherlands have smaller SNS such as and, which have 1,4 million members and even more lacking privacy policies.

Please follow the Privacy in Social Network Sites weblog on both the quote of the Hyves CEO that the police can not collect information from his website under the Hyves Terms of Use and a more in-depth analysis of the judgement that a private profile on a SNS is public in terms of libel and slander.


Many thanks to Marie-José Klaver for approving the full post of the article on this weblog.

Written by davidrip

August 7, 2008 at 10:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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