Privacy groups file complaint with FTC over Facebook settings

Summary:A bevy of privacy groups, spearheaded by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Facebook's latest privacy settings.

A bevy of privacy groups, spearheaded by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Facebook's latest privacy settings.

The settings, which on one hand give you more control over privacy yet on the other open your lives to the world, have raised a bit of a ruckus since being unveiled days ago.

EPIC and nine other privacy and consumer groups argue that Facebook's new privacy settings "violate user expectations" and "diminish user privacy."

A few key excerpts from the complaint, which largely is a timeline of user backlash to the new settings:

Facebook’s actions injure users throughout the United States by invading their privacy; allowing for disclosure and use of information in ways and for purposes other than those consented to or relied upon by such users; causing them to believe falsely that they have full control over the use of their information; and undermining the ability of users to avail themselves of the privacy protections promised by the company.

Facebook represented that users “may not want everyone in the world to have the information you share on Facebook,” and that users “have extensive and precise controls available to choose who sees what among their network and friends, as well as tools that give them the choice to make a limited set of information available to search engines and other outside entities.” Facebook’s changes to users’ privacy settings and associated policies in fact categorize as “publicly available information” users’ names, profile photos, lists of friends, pages they are fans of, gender, geographic regions, and networks to which they belong. Those categories of user data are no longer subject to users’ privacy settings.

Facebook’s changes to users’ privacy settings and associated policies regarding application developers in fact eliminate the universal one-click option for opting out of Facebook Platform and Facebook Connect, and replaces it with a less comprehensive option that requires users to provide application developers with personal information that users could previously prevent application developers from accessing.

In a nutshell, these privacy groups want the FTC to thwart Facebook's privacy changes with more consumer protections in place.

Also:

Topics: Social Enterprise, Legal, Security

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.