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  • Gerrit Eicker 09:37 on 5. December 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Copyleft, , , , , , , , , , , , , , GNU, GNU Project, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Privacy Policies, Proprietary Software, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Surveillance 

    Stallman: Facebook and Google Plus mistreat their usersFacebook does massive surveillance; http://eicker.at/Surveillance

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:37 on 5. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Stallman interview on RT (Russia Today) and video on YouTube: “Facebook and Google Plus mistreat their users… Facebook does massive surveillance. If there is a ‘like’ button in a page, Facebook knows who visited that page. And it can get IP address of the computer visiting the page even if the person is not a Facebook user. So you visit several pages that have ‘like’ button and Facebook knows that you visited all of those, even if it doesn’t really know who you are… Free software literally gives you freedom in the area of computing. It means that you can control your computing. It means that the users individually and collectively have control over their computing. And in particular it means they can protect themselves from the malicious features that are likely to be in proprietary software… This doesn’t automatically give you freedom in some other area of life. To get that you have to fight for it. But human rights support each other. In an age when a lot of what we do, we do with computers, if we don’t have freedom in our computing, that makes it harder for us to defend or fight for freedom in other areas. You loose one set of rights – and it’s harder for you to keep the others…

      VB: “Social networks are under constant scrutiny by their users but also privacy watchdogs as companies add more sharing tools to to connect millions of people from over the world. – Facebook, created by Mark Zuckerberg, hit the headlines over the past week after its co-founder admitted the company had made ‘a bunch of mistakes’, agreeing terms with the FTC to make its networks more transparent and allow users to control their own levels of privacy. – However, there are many that believe companies like Facebook and Google aren’t helping their users, insisting that they are mistreating them. Richard Stallman, creator of the GNU Project and founder of the Free Software Foundation, is one such person, believing that not only do Facebook and Google mistreat users on their social networks, they are putting some people in danger. … Circling back to social networking and the privacy implications involved, many still believe Facebook and Google are working hard to track users across the web, extracting their preferences and information for their own gain. Facebook has said moved to employ two dedicated members of staff to oversee its privacy practices on its website, also agreeing to have its practices audited by the FTC on regular intervals. – Stallman might not believe that Facebook is doing all it can to remain transparent but with the FTC on its back, it is a case of making sure it does to ensure it doesn’t land itself in more hot water. With upwards of 800 million people, Facebook’s growth shows no signs of slowing, suggesting many people simply don’t care about the information they share with third-parties.”

      Wikipedia: “Richard Matthew Stallman (born March 16, 1953), often shortened to rms, is an American software freedom activist andcomputer programmer. In September 1983, he launched the GNU Project to create a free Unix-like operating system, and he has been the project’s lead architect and organizer. With the launch of the GNU Project, he initiated the free software movement; in October 1985 he founded the Free Software Foundation. – Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft, and he is the main author of several copyleft licenses including the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license. Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time advocating for free software, as well as campaigning against software patents, digital rights management, and what he sees as excessive extension of copyright laws. Stallman has also developed a number of pieces of widely used software, including the original Emacs, the GNU Compiler Collection, the GNU Debugger, and various tools in the GNU coreutils. He co-founded the League for Programming Freedom in 1989.”

      Winer: “Why I stand up for Stallman – But I still see it going on for Stallman, and that makes me feel ill. I think a guy like Stallman should be heard and we should think about what he says. And if you disagree, have the self-respect to express it with dignity. And if people start getting personal about it, there should be moderators around to put a stop to it at least stand up to it. No one should stand alone when being subjected to personal attacks. … What Stallman does is what any good blogger would do. He says what he thinks. And if you really listen to what he says, you’ll learn something. Probably the biggest thing you’ll learn about is your own fear. Because there’s something about Stallman that scares a lot of people. They wouldn’t try to isolate him so much, if he didn’t evoke their fear.

  • Gerrit Eicker 11:49 on 30. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , EU Commission, , , , , , , , , , , Privacy Audits, , , Privacy Policies, , , , , , , , ,   

    Facebook Privacy: FTC Settlement, EU Fires 

    While Facebook settles with the FTC, the EU commission starts firing at its business model; http://eicker.at/FacebookPrivacy

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 11:50 on 30. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      FTC: “The social networking service Facebook has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public. The proposed settlement requires Facebook to take several steps to make sure it lives up to its promises in the future, including giving consumers clear and prominent notice and obtaining consumers’ express consent before their information is shared beyond the privacy settings they have established. … The proposed settlement bars Facebook from making any further deceptive privacy claims, requires that the company get consumers’ approval before it changes the way it shares their data, and requires that it obtain periodic assessments of its privacy practices by independent, third-party auditors for the next 20 years. – Specifically, under the proposed settlement, Facebook is: barred from making misrepresentations about the privacy or security of consumers’ personal information; required to obtain consumers’ affirmative express consent before enacting changes that override their privacy preferences; required to prevent anyone from accessing a user’s material more than 30 days after the user has deleted his or her account; required to establish and maintain a comprehensive privacy program designed to address privacy risks associated with the development and management of new and existing products and services, and to protect the privacy and confidentiality of consumers’ information; and required, within 180 days, and every two years after that for the next 20 years, to obtain independent, third-party audits certifying that it has a privacy program in place that meets or exceeds the requirements of the FTC order, and to ensure that the privacy of consumers’ information is protected. – The proposed order also contains standard record-keeping provisions to allow the FTC to monitor compliance with its order.

      ATD: “Facebook has agreed to 20 years of privacy audits in response to complaints by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that it unfairly deceived users about the privacy of their personal information, as was anticipated. The settlement, which is not particularly punitive and comes years after some of the incidents in question, shames Facebook for promising users that their information was kept private while it was in fact shared with advertisers and outside applications that the users or their friends installed. … Facebook’s punishment is in line with what its competitors Twitter and Google have already agreed to: Clearer privacy policies that are audited every two years for the next 20 years.”

      AdAge: “Facebook has settled with the Federal Trade Commission on charges that it rolled out upgrades that overrode users’ privacy settings without obtaining their consent and shared their private information with third-party apps and advertisers. – The settlement marks the first time that the FTC has taken action against the social network, though its European counterparts have been more aggressive in attempts to regulate Facebook and others. The European Commission reportedly intends to amend data-protection laws to ban targeted advertising unless users explicitly opt in, and Facebook would be subject to fines if it fails to comply. … Like the settlement reached with Google over its now-defunct social-networking Buzz product in March, the settlement carries no financial penalty. Facebook is subject to a $16,000 fine per violation per day if it fails to comply with the terms of the order.”

      SEL: “[T]he FTC settlement is also a reminder that privacy is alive and well. It’s also concrete proof that there are consequences for being cavalier about privacy. – This is even more true in Europe, where governments and regulators take privacy 10x more seriously that we do in the US. There are several investigations pending in Europe; and proposed legislation to be introduced early next year by the European Commission would place disclosure requirements and other constraints around Facebook’s ad targeting capabilities.”

      NYT: “Several privacy bills are pending in Congress, and Internet companies have stepped up their lobbying efforts. The F.T.C., meanwhile, has ratcheted up its scrutiny of Internet companies. This year alone, it has reached settlement orders with some of the giants of Silicon Valley, including Google. – The order comes amid growing speculation about Facebook’s preparations for an initial public offering, which could be valued at more than $100 billion. The settlement with the F.T.C., analysts say, could potentially ease investors’ concerns about government regulation by holding the company to a clear set of privacy prescriptions.”

      VB: “Now with third party audits required for the next two decades, including the FTC’s new ability to monitor Facebook’s compliance with the settlement (standard record-keeping procedure), Facebook users will be much more informed and kept up-to-date with any changes the platform might make that has the potential to distribute or share a consumer’s private information without his or her express permission. Or that’s the hope, right?

      Zuckerberg, Facebook: “I founded Facebook on the idea that people want to share and connect with people in their lives, but to do this everyone needs complete control over who they share with at all times. – This idea has been the core of Facebook since day one. When I built the first version of Facebook, almost nobody I knew wanted a public page on the internet. That seemed scary. … Overall, I think we have a good history of providing transparency and control over who can see your information.That said, I’m the first to admit that we’ve made a bunch of mistakes. In particular, I think that a small number of high profile mistakes, like Beacon four years ago and poor execution as we transitioned our privacy model two years ago, have often overshadowed much of the good work we’ve done. … I’m committed to making Facebook the leader in transparency and control around privacy. … Recently, the US Federal Trade Commission established agreements with Google and Twitter that are helping to shape new privacy standards for our industry. Today, the FTC announced a similar agreement with Facebook. These agreements create a framework for how companies should approach privacy in the United States and around the world. … Even before the agreement announced by the FTC today, Facebook had already proactively addressed many of the concerns the FTC raised. … In addition to these product changes, the FTC also recommended improvements to our internal processes. … As part of this, we will establish a biannual independent audit of our privacy practices to ensure we’re living up to the commitments we make. … Erin Egan will become Chief Privacy Officer, Policy. … Michael Richter will become Chief Privacy Officer, Products. … These two positions will further strengthen the processes that ensure that privacy control is built into our products and policies. I’m proud to have two such strong individuals with so much privacy expertise serving in these roles. – Today’s announcement formalizes our commitment to providing you with control over your privacy and sharing…

      RWW: “Since the settlement, Zuckerberg has penned a blog post outlining the Facebook features that the site has launched, which include friend lists, the ability to review tags before they appear on a profile, mobile versions of privacy controls, amount other notable updates. … According to the Sophos Security Blog, in addition to the privacy audits, if the settlement proceeds, Facebook also must stop misrepresenting its security and privacy policies, obtain consent when handing personal data, establish a stronger privacy program and, perhaps most importantly, prevent people from accessing information from deleted/deactivated accounts 30 days after they have been closed.”

      GigaOM: “Not surprisingly, Facebook appears keen to put the FTC incident in the past. CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday addressed the settlement with a lengthy company blog post in which he noted that it is ‘a similar agreement’ to those the FTC has previously reached with Google and Twitter. He also said Facebook has been proactive in bolstering privacy prior to today’s announced settlement with a number of product updates enacted in the past 18 months.”

      RWW: “On the one hand: As any IT security manager knows, the way to implement privacy control in an organization is not to make the private data available in the first place. Modern information security policies are never about per-instance restrictions to the otherwise free flow of information. The same level of controls can, and perhaps should, be provided for directing flow in the opposite direction. That is to say, share nothing by default, and opt in to services that other users and even apps may request. – On the other hand: Facebook’s responsibility for the protection of data provided by users of their own free will, and without any binding contract other than the implied consent agreement, is somewhat limited. The FTC made clear to cite Facebook for misrepresenting its services from the outset, and that misrepresentation gives the government the leverage it needed to force Facebook to change its policies (even though Zuckerberg implies no such change is necessary now). But had that misrepresentation not existed, the FTC may not have had much ground to stand on. It’s hard to establish a standard of care for property that so many millions of individuals willingly give for free.

      TC: “Zuckerberg Loves That The FTC Wants You To ‘Like’ Them On Facebook – You know what Zuck (and around 400 Facebook employees including PR rep Caryn Marooney) do take lightly, according to this comment thread on a Facebook internal network? The fact that the FTC ironically asks readers to ‘Like’ them on Facebook at the bottom of the release statement outlining today’s Facebook settlement. – My favorite part of this? ‘This would make a great public post.’ Be careful what you wish for.

      Telegraph: “Facebook faces a crackdown on selling users’ secrets to advertisers – The European Commission is planning to stop the way the website ‘eavesdrops’ on its users to gather information about their political opinions, sexuality, religious beliefs – and even their whereabouts. – Using sophisticated software, the firm harvests information from people’s activities on the social networking site – whatever their individual privacy settings – and make it available to advertisers. – However, following concerns over the privacy implications of the practice, a new EC Directive, to be introduced in January, will ban such targeted advertising unless users specifically allow it. … Viviane Reding, the vice president of European Commission, said the Directive would amend current European data protection laws in the light of technological advances and ensure consistency in how offending firms are dealt with across the EU. – ‘I call on service providers – especially social media sites – to be more transparent about how they operate. Users must know what data is collected and further processed (and) for what purposes. Consumers in Europe should see their data strongly protected, regardless of the EU country they live in and regardless of the country in which companies which process their personal data are established.’ … A spokesman for the UK Information Commissioner said: ‘Facebook should ensure that any data it collects should be used in the manner that its users expect. If personal data is being passed on to a third party or used for targeted advertising then this should be made clear to the user when they sign up to the site and reinforced when users are invited to use an application.'”

      SEL: “A new directive by the European Commission may stop advertisers from leveraging users’s information when advertising on Facebook. … The new laws would require that users would need to approve more than the standard 4,000 word contract if their personal information was to be used in ad targeting. … If Facebook does not conform to the new rules laid out by the EC, they could face legal action or a ‘massive fine.’

      VB: “Facebook’s entire business model is under fire in the EU – Facebook (and just about every other free Web service) has built a business on that saying and its implications, and the European Commission is taking the social network to task for it. The EU is considering a ban on Facebook’s practice of selling demographic data to marketers and advertisers without specific permission from users. … Facebook is on track for $4.27 billion in revenue this year, largely due to its wildly successful ad platform. The company also has a full 16.3 percent of the overall share of U.S. online display ad revenue.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:28 on 10. March 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Data Protection Directive, , Directive 2002/58/EC, E-Privacy, E-Privacy Directive, , , , Explicit Consent, , , , , , , , , , Privacy Policies, , , , , , ,   

    E-Privacy Directive: Cookies 

    The EU E-Privacy Directive and cookies: making companies less competitive or more transparent? http://eicker.at/PrivacyCookies

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:29 on 10. March 2011 Permalink | Reply

      BBC: “From 25 May, European laws dictate that ‘explicit consent’ must be gathered from web users who are being tracked via text files called ‘cookies’. … The changes are demanded by the European e-Privacy directive which comes into force in the UK in late May. – The section of the directive dealing with cookies was drawn up in an attempt to protect privacy and, in particular, limit how much use could be made of behavioural advertising. – This form of marketing involves people being tracked across websites, with their behaviour used to create a profile that dictates the type of adverts they see. … The exact steps that businesses have to go through to comply with the law and gain consent from customers and users are being drawn up by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).”

      TC: “As if European startups weren’t already at a notional disadvantage in addressing smaller markets, having access to less venture capital and being geographically spread out, a new EU-wide law proposes to hobble its innovation companies by slapping big privacy warning signs all over their sites. … Although businesses are being urged to work out how they gain ‘consent’ from users, this is bound to cause consternation.Nick Halstead, CEO of Tweetmeme and new startup DataSift told me: ‘It clearly makes UK companies less competitive because sites we build will need to be plastered with warnings – and our competitors will not.

      GigaOM: “It’s not a law. The EU is saying member states should enact their own legislation in this area to harmonize with each other, but each country gets to apply it in its own way. Britain’s government will have no impact on the French; the Spanish solution may be very different from the Italian, and so forth. – It doesn’t make opt-in compulsory yet. Because of the system, directives take a long time to become enforceable laws. So while the directive might come into force on May 25, it’s not going to be resulting in court cases for years. – It doesn’t ban cookies. It just asks that those sites which use cookies to track user behavior off site – usually to serve targeted ads – tell users that they’re doing so. Login cookies and shopping carts would be exempt. It’s not aimed at making businesses less competitive. It’s aimed at making them more transparent.

      TNW: “Even if it doesn’t drive startups or their users elsewhere, it’s still sure to be annoying. I’ve had my current computer for three months and I already have 5000 cookies stored on it. Even if only a fraction of those are from European sites, the idea of approving hundreds of ‘explicit permissions’ per month is daunting.”

      pC: “In any case, the member countries of the European Union have substantial leeway in how they implement the rule and work it into their national legal systems. Member countries have until May 25 to do that, but it’s not unusual for them to be late. – While U.S. regulators have also begun considering beefing-up online privacy, including various ‘Do Not Track’ measures, no politician stateside has gone as far as the UK Information Commissioner went by suggesting that an explicit opt-in for standard HTTP cookies should be required.”

      Heise: “Die Bundesregierung will die neuen Leitlinien zur Handhabung von Cookies und weiterer ‘Schnüffel-Software’ nicht so bald umsetzen. … Ein Sprecher des Bundesdatenschutzbeauftragten Peter Schaar erklärte gegenüber heise online, dass seine Behörde im Gegensatz zur Bundesregierung einen Umsetzungsbedarf sehe. So sei ins Telemediengesetz eine Ergänzung einzufügen, dass Cookies nur dann gesetzt werden dürften, wenn eine Einwilligung des Nutzer erfolge. … Man setze nun darauf, dass eine solche Bestimmung im parlamentarischen Beratungsverfahren der Reform der TK-Regeln noch eingeführt werde.”

    • Privacy Blogger 19:21 on 26. April 2011 Permalink | Reply

      The EU cookie controversy has been an issue ever since e-Privacy Directive was amended in November 2009. At the cippguide.org, we take a look at privacy issues worldwide. We also help prepare candidates for the CIPP certification. Check out our blog post that discusses the EU e-Privacy Directive and the development of the cookie problem.

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:18 on 5. March 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , Facebook Data Use Policy, , Facebook Site Governance, , , , , , Privacy Policies, , , , ,   

    Facebook Data Use Policy 

    Facebook wants feedback on its Data Use Policy which might replace its Privacy Policy; http://eicker.at/FacebookDataUsePolicy

     
  • Gerrit Eicker 13:36 on 13. September 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Privacy Policies, , ,   

    Google Privacy Policy Violations 

    SEL: How many Google privacy policies are you violating? http://j.mp/a7EZtv

     
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