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Data Protection Commissioner Voices Concerns over Identity (ID) Theft on Social Networking Sites

Users of social networking sites such as Facebook, Bebo and Hi5 should consider how much of their personal information is being allowed to appear in the public domain.

Concerns are being voiced by many data protection commissioners and privacy groups about the dangers of ID theft from such sites. In particular, concerns exist about sites where photographs, dates of births and other personal details pertaining to ID theft can be displayed and accessed by registered and even non-registered users of the sites.

In small places like Gibraltar, where personal data can be obtained with far more ease than in larger countries, users of social networking sites may be placing themselves in a dangerous position by allowing much of their personal data to be posted in the public domain. Allowing access to such personal data creates a risk for the user whereby their ID can be stolen and used for the acquisition of false documentation which in turn may be used to obtain loans, credit cards etc.

The Data Protection Commissioner urges users of internet-based social networking sites to ensure that they are aware of the privacy settings pertaining to their user-profiles and in particular be aware of how much of their personal data can be viewed and by whom.

For further information please contact the Data Protection Division of the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority via email or telephone.