A new piece of UK government legislation that seems to have snuck onto the statute books almost unnoticed illustrates just how important online privacy is becoming.
You see, the new law could give companies such as Facebook and Twitter ownership of any data you post online.
Until now, the UK followed pretty much the rest of the world in giving you copyright over any digital data you produced - a photograph you may have taken with your digital camera for example.
In fact, this right to the ownership of things you produce has until now been considered a fundamental human right, and being protected by the Berne Convention and other international treaties.
The idea is that if you take a photo and post it online, then someone else uses that photo (in an advert perhaps), you can sue them for breach of your copyright.
Of course the trendy web media companies in Silicon Valley don't like this one bit.
They want to have control of any data you share using their systems, so that they can exploit it to make money.
I reported a while ago on the new terms and conditions being introduced by Instagram, whereby any photographs you take using their software became their property, for them to use how they please.
There was widespread outcry generated over these new terms and conditions that forced Instagram to abandon them.
So it's extremely disappointing and worrying that the UK government has pretty much introduced the terms of the widely disliked Instgram contract into UK law.
According to this new law, part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act which received Royal Assent last week, companies can use images for commercial purposes, where information identifying the owner of the image is missing.
Image files such as PNG and JPEG do contain so called metadata, with information such as the name of the person who took the picture invisibly embedded into the image file.
Unfortunately some image processing software removes this information, and many users don't bother to set it in the first place, as a result most of the images posted online cannot be traced back to the person who created them.
The actual terms of the new laws will be defined by politicians later this year, so it isn't clear yet exactly how this will work in practice.
But, it does seem to set a chilling precedent. Not just for normal Internet users, but for professional photographers who publish their work online.
Photographers are trying to fight back at the moment though.
A new service is being launched which allows you to register a picture as belonging to you.
You can find the website here: http://plus.useplus.org/PLUSnews/2/PLUS_Registry.htm
The idea is you, post all of your photographs to this registry website, and anyone looking to exploit them for commercial gain would need to check here first.
Doing so is likely to be time consuming and expensive for the home user, so you might want to hold off posting anything until the terms of the new laws are clarified.
Stefan Johnson, Editor-in-Chief
Передаю кратко: Великобритания втихаря приняла закон, по которому все файлы, что вы публикуете в ФБ, Инстаграм и других социальных сетях, включая фотографии, являются собственностью этих самых компаний, а не вашей. Если вы хотите воспрепятствовать тому, чтобы они продали вашу интеллектуальную собственность, то должны пойти на сайт http://plus.useplus.org/PLUSnews/2/PLUS_Registry.htm и там зарегистрировать свои права.
Жулье бесстыжее, что тут сказать.