Facebook complaints from privacy groups taken to FTC

By Lee Kaelin on September 30, 2011, 9:37 AM

Ten privacy groups have written to the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission asking that Facebook be assessed for its use of super cookies, used by the social networking giant to track users across the internet.

In a letter of complaint (PDF) dated yesterday, the ten groups, Electronic Privacy Information Center, American Civil Liberties Union, American Library Association, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Center for Digital Democracy, Center for Media and Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Watchdog, PrivacyActivism, and Privacy Times all signed the document.

They wrote regarding concerns that Facebook was using persistent cookies and could track users' activity on the web even after they have signed out from the site, describing this as a risk to their privacy and security.

"We would like to bring your attention to new privacy and security risks to American consumers, the secret use of persistent identifiers ("cookies") to track the Internet activity of users even after they have logged off of Facebook, and the company's failure to uphold representations it has made regarding its commitments to protect the privacy of its users," the letter reads, adding that "Facebook's tracking of post-log-out Internet activity violates both the reasonable expectations of consumers and the company's own privacy statements."

The group also believes Facebook's use of "frictionless sharing" and its Timeline and Opengraph features should be audited, with concerns being raised regarding the social networking giant's ability to disclose far larger amounts of users' personal information to its business partners than it has done in the past.

Facebook recently made changes to the controversial tracking cookies after the issue was widely covered by the media, but the confusing way in which users are presented with options to set privacy levels has long been a concern for many.




User Comments: 7

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cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

F__K Facebook

Facebook is no longer a social network, it's a market place.

I have an account and login just to see if there is any thing different. Then I log back out because of all the money making crap that is nearly impossible to ignore.

Guest said:

Lack of privacy is the number one reason I have never used Facebook nor do I ever plan to.

RH00D RH00D said:

The thing is, Facebook only gets what you allow them to have. If you give them your life story that's your fault not Zuckerberg's. Now you might bring up the tracking issue. Well, to avoid tracking by Facebook outside of the www.facebook.com domain, simply use NoScript, AdBlock, BetterPrivacy and some other good privacy-aiding add-ons available.

Although, Facebook is getting a lot worse for invading privacy than it used to be. I'm about ready for Facebook to get replaced by a different social network that doesn't invade privacy to the extent that Facebook does. And no, I simply can't trust Google for privacy.

Timonius Timonius said:

Interestingly, I began systematically wiping out my info manually on my account last night. Once I am done I will most likely delete the account altogether. It's as close to a secure wipe as I can manage.

RH00D RH00D said:

Timonius said:

Interestingly, I began systematically wiping out my info manually on my account last night. Once I am done I will most likely delete the account altogether. It's as close to a secure wipe as I can manage.

You should try to delete as many things as possible. I did this on my old account and I went and deleted EVERYTHING. Deleted every comment I made, "unliked" as many things as I could find that I had liked, and removed every friend on it and other things until it was an empty profile. Apparently if you contact Facebook support they will really wipe all your stuff if you be persistent enough about it.

Timonius Timonius said:

RH00D said:

Timonius said:

Interestingly, I began systematically wiping out my info manually on my account last night. Once I am done I will most likely delete the account altogether. It's as close to a secure wipe as I can manage.

You should try to delete as many things as possible. I did this on my old account and I went and deleted EVERYTHING. Deleted every comment I made, "unliked" as many things as I could find that I had liked, and removed every friend on it and other things until it was an empty profile. Apparently if you contact Facebook support they will really wipe all your stuff if you be persistent enough about it.

That's what I am doing right now. Finally got to the 'joined Facebook' comment

Last phase is to remove all friends and family from the account and then I'm done. It's really quite therapeutic in a way

Guest said:

Not exactly true about FB only gets what you give them. With the way they have been manipulating cookies and tracking you even when you are logged out they aren't getting more information than you give them? OH YES they are. They track EVERYTHING you do. Now haow they use that information has yet to be determined. But I will guarantee it isn't in your best interests. And how long have they been doing this. Zukerberg says it was a mistake, an accident. Ya right and I'm Abraham Lincoln too! I'm sure this has been going on for a long time and the only accident was that they were caught. NOTHING happens at FB that isn't driven by $$$$$$ and greed!

And in case you didn't know this. Your page NEVER goes away. It is archived by FB for use at a later time.

And no I don't particularly trust Google with privacy either. But I certainly trust them more than FAKEBOOK!!!!

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