By Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 0 Comments
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Facebook says that an independent audit found its privacy practices…
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Facebook says that an independent audit found its privacy practices sufficient during a six-month assessment period that followed a settlement with federal regulators.
Facebook Inc. said it submitted the findings to the Federal Trade Commission on Monday evening. The audit was a required part of the social networking company’s settlement with the FTC last summer. The settlement resolved charges that Facebook exposed details about its users’ lives without getting the required legal consent.
Facebook provided a copy of its letter to the FTC, along with a redacted copy of the auditor’s letter, to The Associated Press on Wednesday. The redacted portion contains trade secret information and does not alter the auditor’s findings, the company said. The audit, which found that Facebook’s privacy program met or exceeded requirements under the FTC’s order, covered written policies as well as samples of its data.
By Brian D. Johnson - Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 7:00 AM - 0 Comments
A Hot Docs film details how Google and Facebook serve up reams of private data to the CIA, FBI and others
Leigh Bryan, a 26-year-old bar manager from Coventry, England, had booked a hotel on Hollywood Boulevard and was looking forward to some wild times in California. Instead, after showing his passport at the L.A. airport, he was taken to a holding room, questioned for five hours, then handcuffed, jailed overnight and flown home the next morning. U.S. authorities had red-flagged Bryan because of tweets he’d sent to a friend in Britain three weeks earlier. One read: “Free this week for a gossip/prep before I go destroy America? X.” Another message, referencing TV’s Family Guy, said he’d be “on Hollywood Blvd and diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!” At the airport, Bryan tried to explain that “destroy” was English slang for drunken partying, and that he had no intention of disinterrring a screen legend, but U.S. officials didn’t buy it.
Bryan is not alone. In Terms and Conditions May Apply, a documentary feature showing next week at Toronto’s Hot Docs festival, his case is one of several absurd stories about innocents targeted by police or government agencies trolling personal Internet accounts. This witty yet chilling film presents a dire portrait of how, with just a few keystrokes, we surrender our privacy to a brave new world of state surveillance beyond anything George Orwell ever dreamed of.
We all do it routinely. You download an app, upgrade some software, register on a website and up comes that mass of fine print called the “terms of service” contract. Without reading it, you scroll to the bottom and click on “I agree.”
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 8:06 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – NDP MP Charlie Angus may not need Twitter, but he says Canadians…
OTTAWA – NDP MP Charlie Angus may not need Twitter, but he says Canadians need to know more about how the social media company protects their privacy.
Angus publicly quit using the microblogging site earlier this year, likening it to being badgered by a drunk on a 24-hour bus ride.
But he says that a House of Commons study on privacy and social media requires the company’s input.
A Commons committee decided last May to study the steps being taken by social media companies to protect the personal information of Canadians.
It followed high-profile interventions by Canada’s privacy commissioner on the use of personal data by sites like Google and Facebook.
Both companies have appeared before the committee, but NDP MP Charmaine Borg says Twitter refused.
The company couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The committee has now agreed to send a formal letter asking Twitter to testify.
Angus said Google and Facebook has supported the study, but the committee needs to go further.
“We’re not going to have a full sense unless we have the main players,” said Angus. “We need Twitter.”
The motion to formally call Twitter to testify came after a representative from Facebook took committee members through that company’s privacy policies.
Facebook’s relationship with Canada’s privacy commissioner is robust, said Robert Sherman, manager of privacy and public policy for the social networking giant.
“We found that we have had a very positive relationship with her office and have been able to discuss many of the issues and products that we’ve been coming out with her office and get their feedback,” Sherman said.
“That’s been a very positive relationship and I think you’ll see that many of the innovations around privacy have come out of our discussions with her.”
Canadians are heavy users of social media.
A Paris-based analyst group reported in July that there are just over 10 million Twitter accounts based in Canada.
Another analytics company said earlier this year that Facebook has about 18 million Canadian users, more than half the country’s total population.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 9:53 AM - 0 Comments
Facebook wants to remove its current process that lets users vote on changes to…
In an email sent to all users late Wednesday and early Thursday, Facebook said: “We deeply value the feedback we receive from you during our comment period but have found that the voting mechanism created a system that incentivized quantity of comments over the quality of them. So, we are proposing to end the voting component in order to promote a more meaningful environment for feedback.”
According to Mashable, part of the reason for the change is that so few users took advantage of the voting component during past votes.
“In June, the company proposed two alternative versions of its statement of rights and responsibilities, and let users vote on them for a whole week. A mere 342,632 cast their ballots,” writes Chris Taylor. “That was roughly one in every 2,600 users — or 0.038% of Facebook’s population at the time.”
However, some users are mounting a challenge. At www.our-policy.org, users are being urged to post: “I oppose the changes and want a vote about the demands on www.our-policy.org” on the Facebook Site Governance page.
The email sent to users says they are able to give feedback on the Facebook Site Governance page until Nov. 28 and the Our Policy website is urging at least 7,000 users to post the statement before the deadline.
Another change cited in the email says that users will soon be able to submit privacy concerns and questions to Facebook’s chief privacy officer of policy.
If proposed privacy changes go through, they would allow Facebook to better share user data with affiliate businesses, including Instagram, which it bought for $1 billion in April, reports Wired UK.