Groups claim Facebook's new policy threatens user privacy, asking FTC to step in
Facebook is running into to some trouble with about a half a dozen different privacy groups regarding some changes the massive social networking site is trying to make to some of its most important user privacy documents.
Last week Facebook proposed changes to be made to its Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities documents. The changes included what appears to be alterations made to what information the site uses for advertisements, among other things.
The privacy groups, including Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Watchdog, Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, have now sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking them to take action against Facebook's proposed changes. The groups claim that the new amendments infringe on user privacy and could be in violation with a settlement made between Facebook and the FTC back in 2011.
That settlement stated that Facebook must have user permission before accessing and sharing personal data beyond what the regulations set out in its legal guidelines. The privacy groups say the new changes go against this ruling and harken back to the infamous Facebook Beacon advertising initiative. Now shutdown, the Beacon program led to a $9.5 million settlement in favor of users who said Facebook didn't properly notify them regarding the use of outside data for advertising.
“The proposed changes are broad enough to allow Facebook to resurrect programs similar to Beacon, a program that just about everyone including Facebook agreed was wrong and was subsequently shut down,” the privacy groups said.
Also an issue with the privacy groups, Facebook's new proposed policy changes the way the company handles younger users' personal data as well. Facebook has added language stating that anyone under 18 needs parental consent to join, which according to the groups, essentially means that the company can access and share the personal data of teenagers the same way as anyone else. The groups say that this completely defeats any kind of meaningful limitation Facebook had towards the commercial exploitation of the images and names of younger Facebook users.
For the full breakdown of the proposed policy changes, head over to Facebook's "Proposed Updates to our Governing Documents" page.
Image via Reuters
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