Thursday, December 06, 2007

Facebook not too hot on privacy

David Holtzman, author of the excellent Privacy Lost, is fairly fuming over Facebook's most recent privacy invading shenanigans.

"I was actually hoping this would blow over, but sigh. Another arrogant, young, venture-funded social networking company has done something counter-consumer, caused a furor and backed down, apologizing with a hearty "my bad." Yes, it's Facebook and their notorious Beacon program, which monitors things that members buy on 3rd party affiliated sites and broadcasts these purchases to the member's network, regardless of whether he/she wants them to or not. Originally Beacon was a compulsory "feature"--now it is kinda opt-out. It should have been opt-in all along, but I guess Facebook doesn't see it that way.

Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg (who is by the way, younger than most of my dental work), has apologized to the user community. In an interview, he said: "I'm not proud of the way we've handled this situation and I know we can do better." I believe Mr. Zuckerberg has completely missed the point--it's not a problem of how he reacted, it's the fact that they rolled out an evil f**king system to begin with.

Even now, the opt-out is transactional, you have to say no each time. The fact these bastards are tracking people at all on 3rd party sites is highly creepy and invasive anyway.

However as most of the critics have said, you don't have to use Facebook.

Good idea. Let's not."

Ian did a forensic examination of Facebook's privacy settings for Gikii 2 this year and came to the conclusion that they didn't measure up too well. He was slightly more polite about their failings.

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