FTC Investigates Facebook Over Timeline Privacy Concerns
It’s no secret that Facebook is in bed with the US government, but that cosy relationship doesn’t prevent it from being investigated by the FTC—and thank heavens for that!
It appears that Facebook will have the FTC breathing down its neck pretty soon, courtesy of a request sent by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). The request seeks to have some examination of Facebook’s new Timeline feature, which according to the EPIC, violates the privacy of users. The EPIC has been very blunt about its position and stated that, “With Timeline, Facebook has once again taken control over the user’s data from the user and has now made information that was essentially achieved and inaccessible widely available without the consent of the user.” EPIC wants the FTC to investigate whether Timeline is “consistent with the terms of the settlement.”
Perhaps Facebook didn’t count on an organization like the EPIC being vigilant, after all, no other watchdog or industry analysts made the link with the launch of Timeline and the ramping up of Facebook’s ad services. Nor did any analysts make note of the fact that Facebook’s launch of Timeline ‘wellness updates’ coincides with Facebook’s new partnership with pharmaceutical companies to market medical and health related products.
The whole thing stinks, and I hope the transparency of the move by the EPIC forces the FTC to do its duty. If Timeline is such an egregious breach of privacy, no less than its disbandment is acceptable.
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