Tags: facebook | web | browsing | privacy

Facebook Plan on Web Browsing Rouses Alarm Among Privacy Groups

Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 07:57 AM

The U.S. should investigate Facebook Inc.’s plan to collect the Web browsing activities of its users to determine if the company is violating an agreement with the government to ensure people’s privacy, an advocacy group said.

Facebook, the biggest social networking site, would routinely monitor the Web habits of its users, contrary to its prior representations, according to a letter sent to the Federal Trade Commission by Kostas Rossoglou, senior legal officer of the European Consumer Organization and Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.

The non-governmental organizations, joined in a grouping they call the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue, petitioned the FTC to open a probe into Facebook’s practices. Facebook last month said it would try to deliver more targeted advertising by viewing what its users do on sites other than Facebook.

“We are writing to express deep alarm,” the group said in its letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.

Jodi Seth, a spokeswoman for Facebook, said the company couldn’t comment on a letter it hasn’t seen.

Facebook in late 2011 agreed to settle complaints by the FTC that it failed to protect users’ privacy or disclose how their data could be used. It later entered into a 20-year agreement with the agency that requires the Menlo Park, California-based company to get clear consent from users before sharing material posted under earlier, more restrictive terms.

If the FTC finds Facebook has violated the agreement, the privacy groups would ask the agency to compel the company to stop the tracking, Chester said in an e-mail.

Facebook has been giving people more control over their settings after years of criticism over its privacy policies. In May, the company said that the posts of new members who begin sharing on Facebook will only be visible to their friends, as opposed to the public. The company also added options for users to decide what Facebook information they share with third-party applications.

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The U.S. should investigate Facebook Inc.'s plan to collect the Web browsing activities of its users to determine if the company is violating an agreement with the government to ensure people's privacy, an advocacy group said.
facebook, web, browsing, privacy
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2014-57-29
Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 07:57 AM
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