I Drink Your Milkshake

Data slurp (v) Compiling user data, especially personally identifiable user data, in order to make money from advertising. Companies that do this (such as Facebook and Google) push users to provide as much information about themselves as possible in an attempt to collapse the public and private spheres of life, while making it difficult to opt out of or learn more about such data gathering. See the Daniel-Day Lewis explanation for more information.

Data-slurp acquisition (DSA) (n) – Purchasing a company for the express purpose of acquiring extant user data — usually much to the horror of the existing user base.

I posted a bit about the ‘slurping’ phenomenon in my post about Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp, but I wanted to pose a few additional questions now that Facebook has added Move to its stable of data-slurpers, and changing Move’s privacy policy to allow for data slurping (h/t @gruber).

Some questions, since I’m not really up on the latest in the legalities of data wrangling:

-I was under the impression that by law users are required to be informed of any privacy policy changes, and that companies can’t proceed under the new policy until agreed to- is this true?

-If true, how do data-slurpers handle user data? Say I used Move and quit using it in disgust when I found out Facebook bought them without agreeing to a new Privacy Policy — this isn’t the case with WhatsApp, by the way, because their Policy explicitly allowed them to transfer user data in the event of a DSA. Does Facebook have the right to my data?

-If not, how do they go about parsing it, and what do they do with the old data? Do they specifically have a column in their database for ‘agreed to the latest policy’, and they only search through records that have that bit flipped? Do they just dump the data from users that haven’t agreed to the new policy within 30 days?

-This might be an extremely silly question, but who enforces that?

Given that these DSAs are coming fast and furious, inquiring minds might want to know. It would be kind of nice to not be blind-sided by such an acquisition in the future.