Facebook Membership May Be Forever (from Foxnews.com):

The Consumerist blog noticed Sunday that the social-networking giant had quietly made a change to its user Terms of Service (TOS) on Feb. 4.

Facebook now declares that it has a perpetual license to use anything you post to your own Facebook page – even if you terminate your account.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the change as necessary in a blog posting Monday afternoon.

Here’s the licensing part of the legalese, which sounds bad enough:

“You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.”

In other words, while it doesn’t actually own your photos, scribblings and status updates – you do – Facebook can do whatever it wants with it, whenever it wants, in order to promote itself or create or sell ads.

Theoretically, it can even “license” a picture of your kids for use in a third party’s ad campaign.

Most of that has been part of the Facebook Terms of Service for a while. After all, without user-generated content, Facebook would be nothing.

What’s been removed is this: “If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however (sic) you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.”

And what’s been added is this: “The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service” – after which follows a list of most of the sections on the Terms of Service page.

So even if you decide Facebook isn’t for you, the site can still use anything you posted. It’s all been archived…

Read the rest here

The common misconception in the world today is that anyone has any “privacy” on the internet. All information passes through public systems that anyone can filter. I will put money on the fact that the government is filtering all internet traffic in the United States. Honestly, you have to come to some point of faith that either the government is going to use that information in a positive way and only seek out those who cause trouble in the world, or once you realize how little control or security you have, you will go insane. Mostly, I don’t think that many of the issues are addressed because it would tip their hand and show the world how closely they’re watching this stuff. Could they act on all of it? Sure – but then the cover would be removed and we’d see that everything that we’ve been operating under is a sham. All of our “rights” in this country that are “granted” by the government are only granted as long as it’s good for the state. They should, for their own preservation, keep that in perspective. To keep in power they need to grant us rights to please our desires for “freedom” but in order to keep us secure they need to break those rights to monitor for people who could cause trouble. Think about it – the internet was a government entity long before it was public. What’s to stop them from monitoring once it becomes public? Do you really think that the encrypted public channels are that hard to decipher for a government supercomputer? Really? One website stating it openly means nothing compared to the government who has been doing it since its inception.

That’s where, as a Christian, real freedom comes into play. Even though we may have no authority or right to privacy granted by our government, we have, in reality, no privacy at all from God who knows even our innermost thoughts and desires. The whole concept of “privacy” is, in my opinion, somewhat sinful to begin with. Sure, it’s required for mankind to exist in a world market where what we keep to ourselves keeps us safe from those who would seek to do harm to us or who would seek to rip us off, but how often are we keeping things from people that would help them or that would, in some way or another, benefit someone else? Think about the poor man on the street who is begging for food? Do you really mean it when you say, “I don’t have anything?” No, of course not. What you mean is “I don’t want to share what I have with you.” At what point does the right to privacy overcome our right to be Christian? Should we hide some of our income on our taxes, even if we know the taxes will be used for sinful acts by our government against the most innocent among us? Should we lie to protect people? Think about this – if preaching the Gospel becomes illegal in this country, as many of us are predicting based on what the Bible has said, would you lie to protect your pastor, knowing that God called all lying a sin against Him? You can argue about Rahab lying to conceal the spies (Joshua 2), but remember that God doesn’t need our lies to do His work. Had she followed the commandment and said the truth, I can guarantee you that God’s sovereign will of the Israelites destroying Jericho would still have been taken care of. In the same way, God doesn’t need us to lie for Him. Granted, God, through Joshua, honored her and her household by sparing them in the onslaught for preserving the spies, but the question that it comes down to is when do we have the authority to judge one sin over another? Lying lips, regardless of the lie, are an abomination to the Lord (Pr. 12:22) and all liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Rev 21:8).

Our freedom, however, comes in the freedom from our sins and as we are saved now from many of our sinful desires by our death with Christ in our redemption purchased on Calvary, we also can conquer the sins that continue to plague us. Our freedom comes in our death to the law, where we no longer are under the condemnation of a set of rules that no natural man can ever keep, but instead our natural righteousness (as filthy before Holy God as used menstrual cloth) has been replaced with God’s own righteousness when we surrender the lordship of our lives to Christ. Our freedom comes through that righteousness where we are no longer blocked from conversing with our God and Father in Heaven and our prayers are heard and answered. Our freedom cannot be granted or removed by any government, legal, or religious system. It is fully guaranteed and sealed.

What does that have to do with the government or a website that decides to make known their control over people’s accounts? Everything. If you want a great analogy, think about it this way. The website was created by an entity outside of itself. That creator designed all of the features, options, look and feel, then inserted a set of rules into that environment. People joined the environment and it began to grow and grow. Eventually people started using it for nefarious means and things went south so the creator changed the rules by which his website should be run and now, the people who “live” in that virtual world are revolting saying that the creator has no rights to invade into their privacy nor tell them what to do. Sound familiar?

There is no “savior” from Facebook, nor from the government. There is only the Savior from God who came to heal our brokenness from our God and Creator, and who has promised to come again to take us to live with Him forever.