TOP STORY: Facebook, Google Stir Privacy Debate, FTC Holds Fire

FACEBOOK, GOOGLE MISSTEPS FUEL PRIVACY DEBATE,
WHILE FTC BACKS AWAY FROM REGULATION OF BT

Facebook was back in the privacy spotlight after a recent Wall Street Journal investigation found that many of the most popular Facebook applications were sharing user profiles with other advertisers and data firms (as was MySpace but to a more limited degree), while another study found that advertisers were able to identify a user’s sexual orientation based on their response to certain advertisements.  This prompted the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, Ed Markey (D-MA) and Joe Barton (R-TX) to promptly send a detailed list of questions to Facebook’s 26-year old CEO Mark Zuckerberg.  The discovery has also led to class action lawsuit against Zynga, developer of the popular FarmVille.

At the same time, Google was drawing fire from privacy advocates for adopting an “all you can eat” privacy policy to enable it to aggreagate data across applications, remained under scrutiny by Canadian and European governments for personal data collected from wireless networks by Google through its Street View program and was named in a “complaint” filed with the FTC by a former FTC technologist for sharing search queries with third parties.

While some have argued that the Facebook event raises questions about behavioral targeting, new FTC Commissioner Brill indicated that the FTC “isn’t calling for regulation right now” but instead wanted to evaluate recently adopted self-regulatory initiatives.  She added, however, the the soon to be released report on the FTC’s privacy roundtables earlier this year may raise the issue of a do-not-track registry which Brill supports.

More Info: Facebook in Privacy Breach,” Wall Street Journal, “Facebook’s Latest Privacy Breach: Why it Matters,” PC World,  “More Privacy Problems for Facebook“, Vator NewsPC World, “Former FTC Employee Files Complaint Over Google Privacy,”  Wall Street Journal, “Critics Strike at New Google ‘All You Can Eat’ Privacy Policy” Online Media Daily, ” “Google Street View broke Canada’s privacy law with Wi-Fi capture,” The Guardian, “FTC to Recommend Self-Regulation, Not New Laws, Says Commission Member,” Online Media Daily; Markey-Barton Letter

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  1. Pingback: New Cyber Report: Top Story Facebook, Google Fuel Privacy Debate « BGK Blog

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