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Internet Privacy Policies & Terms of Service

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Hello, new member here. Great site, lots of really useful information & I hope someone may be able to provide advice on matters pertaining to the use of public forums/messageboards & the terms of service a forum offers along with it's privacy policy.


Here's the scenario ..


A popular forum (forum x) I frequent has recently been acquired by new owners. They have also acquired another forum (forum y) that they have merged with a brand new forum (forum z) they have set up. When they completed the merge of forum y with forum z all the members personal details, registration information & content they had posted on forum y was transferred & transplanted onto the new forum z. The old forum y has now disappeared though the web address now points at the new forum z.


This may happen with forum x. However forum x has a very succint & incomplete terms of service & no privacy policy at all. Much information you would expect in a ToS is missing, for example notices that members retain copyright of their original material but when they post it they provide a royalty-free licence in perpetuity for the owners of to transmit as they see fit, are missing.


Because this information is missing is it reasonable to assume that under common law if you were to use such a public forum and everything about you plus the content you had contributed to the site was moved, the new owners would be in breach of the data protection act, as they have failed to provide details of how they may use your data in the future.


Given that if the transfer did take place, under the ToS & privacy policy of the new forum (forum z) there would be restrictions that did not exist on forum x. Furthermore to access forum z & enable the full range of features it provides you have to compulsorily provide additional personal details such as name, address, postcode, phone numbers etc whereby on the old forum x all you needed was a log-in alias & valid email address.


The privacy policy of forum z also allows them to part with or sell the personal details they have harvested with no opt-out option.


So here are my questions ..


1. If a forum's ToS omit key details about how content is used & transmitted can the provider of that content, ie the registered user have a say in how it is transmitted if that transmission involves a change of owner & transfer to a new platform ie new site on another server?


2. If a registered users details are transferred onto a new site & the new sites ToS are restrictive in relation to the old site and/or the privacy policy requires additonal personal data that is not explicitly protected from third parties and no opt-out exists, again is the new owner in breach of the DPA.


I hope all of the above makes sense, if not I will be happy to try & clarify. I can also provide links if needed. Thanks for your time. :)

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