Facebook is putting their first server outside the United States in, of all places, Lulea, Sweden. Why? They are hoping it doesn’t explode. The server is scheduled to be placed at the edge of the Arctic Circle in 2014. Facebook flirted with several possible locations, but the Arctic Circle was determined to be prime real estate. This goal of this bold move is to improve the performance of Facebook for European users (and to not blow up the server).
However, according to Sweden’s Pirate Party , a group that embraces people’s right to privacy, placing the server in that specific location will induce eavesdropping from Sweden’s National Defense Radio Establishment. Referred to as the FRA, the National Defense Radio Establishment supports government authorities regarding technological threats. The FRA conducts telephone and data traffic surveillance in effort to fight border terrorism and other crimes.
According to Jan Fredriksson, a spokesman for Facebook in Sweden, the telephone and data traffic surveillance will only affect users “who are strongly suspected of terrorism.”
There have been several privacy concerns with Facebook in Europe in regards to how long Facebook keeps its users’ personal information. Anna Troberg, the leader of Sweden’s Pirate Party, “Facebook isn’t famous for caring about its users integrity, so they didn’t care about it in this case either.” The European Commission is “planning a legal change…that may prompt U.S. Web giants like Google and Facebook to rethink how they store and process consumer data”, according to this New York Times article.
Facebook has received a lot of criticism over the implemented privacy policies, and will be making an effort to change some things. A new
policy is in the midst of being approved. It would enable users to “opt-in” to strangers accessing their personal information. This means that users can change their privacy settings so that only their “friends” can view the information on their profiles. If, however, the user sets their privacy settings to “everyone”, then anyone on Facebook can see their profile regardless of being the user’s friend or not.
I think it’s great that Facebook is putting a server outside the United States. This will enable the more than 800 million users to expand even more. Who knows, maybe Facebook will make it to one billion users.