One of Facebook's biggest privacy debacles was also its first major foray into advertising -- the Beacon program. A group of users filed a lawsuit, which Facebook agreed to settle for more than $9 million. One privacy activist and Facebook user, Ginger McCall (who also works at the Electronic Privacy Information Center), objected to the settlement. A trial judge approved the deal over her objection, but she took her complaints to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court held a hearing last week and, going by the audio file of the arguments, the judges who heard the case aren't …
Lawmakers are raising concerns about Amazon's new Kindle Fire, which comes with Silk, a new browser that can transmit information about every site users visit back to the retail giant.
Netflix scored a victory in the House today, when the Judiciary Committee approved a measure that would help the company integrate with Facebook. The bill, H.R. 2471, sponsored by Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.), would amend a 23-year-old privacy law aimed at preserving the confidentiality of people's movie-watching records. The Video Privacy Protection Act prohibits movie rental companies from disclosing information about their customers without their consent. Goodlatte's amendment explicitly allows people to consent online to the disclosure of their movie-rental records on an ongoing basis.
Privacy bills that would regulate online behavioral targeting are pending on the Hill right now, as is the Federal Trade Commission's proposal for a universal "do-not-track" mechanism. But even as lawmakers, advocates and industry executives debate the various proposals, they aren't addressing a more fundamental question about the ethics of online tracking, two privacy experts argue in a new paper.
FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz coined a new word today: Cyberazzi. What are cyberazzi? In Leibowitz's words: "Cookies and other data catchers" that "follow us as we browse, reporting our every stop and action to marketing firms that, in turn, collect an astonishingly complete profile of our online behavior.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will determine whether the Federal Communications Commission's new neutrality rules are legal, a judicial panel said this week. That news doesn't bode well for the controversial neutrality rules, because the court in D.C. has already ruled that the FCC isn't able to enforce open Internet principles.
A new Verizon initiative to allow marketers to target ads based on users' addresses is raising some eyebrows on the Hill. This week, the company began notifying wireless customers as well as broadband subscribers about a new "advertising by geography" program, which allows targeting based on neighborhood.
For the second time in two weeks, Facebook is confronting allegations that it has been setting cookies that are capable of tracking users across a wide swath of sites.
A bankruptcy judge's decision to allow Barnes & Noble to purchase data about Borders' customers, including its database of 48 million email addresses and information associated with those accounts, isn't sitting well with everyone. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) slammed the court's ruling as "wholly inadequate and unacceptable" in a statement issued this week.
Facebook has been hit with two separate potential class-action lawsuits alleging that it unlawfully tracked users after they had logged out of the service.
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