An association of various actors in online social network services recently published a common code of conduct about the users’ private information. The National IT and Telecom Agency is behind the initiative.

The code of conduct consists of ten general recommendations. Websites such as Arto and GoSupermodel have taken part in the preparation of the code of conduct. Basically it is positive to have a Danish code of conduct.

It is progressive that we now have a common frame of reference for the current and future online social networks. The code of conduct should be read as an optional set of rules – a sort of approval to brag about if you choose to live up to the recommendations.

In times such as these, where there is Facebook – and then all the others, it is obviously not a bulletproof way to ensure children and young people’s privacy online.

It is no secret that is is extremely difficult to enforce guidelines across national borders, and it has proven especially difficult to get Facebook to consider user privacy something to care about. Over the last years, we have seen how Facebook slowly but surely has reduced and watered down the main settings for user privacy. Based on Facebook’s business model it is perfectly understandable. Ethically, not so much.

However, it is still sympathetic that we now have a well worked-out code of conduct at national level. Science Minister Charlotte Sahl-Madsen points out that the code of conduct can be an excellent starting point, when we start discussing privacy protection on online social network services within the framework of EU in the coming months.

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