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FTC Proposes Settlement Over Facebook Privacy Violations

The FTC has apparently proposed a settlement to Facebook designed to resolve the ongoing legal battle over its alleged violations of user privacy resulting from changes to privacy settings that revealed more detail than it admitted publicly. The relatively lenient settlement would require that Facebook receive express permission from users prior to sharing any data obtained under the contentious Terms and Conditions.

Facebook's privacy-related legal woes began in 2009 when the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint alleging harm to Facebook customers due to its failure to fully disclose which information they collected, and how it was used. If the settlement is accepted, it would bring an end to its American hassles, for now at least, but the social networking giant is currently under similar investigation in the EU for privacy concerns raised by German users.

This settlement would follow on settlements recently reached with Google and Twitter and appears to indicate a policy of non-confrontation from the agency tasked with policing business conduct. However, those settlements, and the one proposed with Facebook are the result of the FTC making privacy concerns a priority. Whether that priority remains in effect with future amendments to Facebook's terms of service is unclear - the settlement does not apply to future changes to Facebook's Terms and Conditions. Such concerns may be rendered moot however, if one of several privacy bills currently proposed in the U.S. congress were to pass.

  • hoof_hearted
    Facebook didn't violate my privates.
  • LongLiveRock1974
    Funny how this report comes out a few days after Anonymous does their thing.
  • Marcus52
    Facebook needs to turn off ALL information sharing by default. You don't get anything from another user unless he or she expressly goes in to the user control panel and chooses to allow it.

    No information, period, should be shared with any other service or company, that isn't allowed by the user, as well. This includes tracking cookies and the like. Any shared information should be optional, should be defaulted OFF and NOT shared unless the user specifically agrees to share it.

    All responsible authorities across the world should do their best to educate the public and arm them with the knowledge to make wise decisions when it comes to sharing information about themselves on the internet.

    In the end, though, the ultimate responsibility belongs to the user, not Facebook or the government, to control his or her information access. It is up to YOU to know what you are sharing with everyone else on the planet. Can they get your home phone number? Can they track you via a GPS link? No amount of government regulation is going to protect you if you go around being clueless, being an easy mark for anyone to take advantage of that decides to.

    In my opinion, Facebook has actually been one of those companies taking advantage of "easy marks", of people clueless about their own security, and just like for any questionable character, we need to draw a line for them and tell them what is acceptable and what is not. I don't care if your hand is in my pocket just to count the change, you weren't actually going to take any, I'm telling you don't put your hand in my pocket, period, end of story. Get it?

    It may interest you to know that unless you specifically block access, whenever you connect to the internet, regardless of whether or not you have a Facebook account, you connect to Facebook servers that gather information on you.

  • xx_pemdas_xx
    I thought when i signed up it told me what it was going to do with my information... and i hit accept ! I can't believe people are so dumb and think that FB didn't ask, all the while they were given permission...
  • hetneo
    longliverock1974Funny how this report comes out a few days after Anonymous does their thing.What thing?
  • Camikazi
    hetneoWhat thing?Porn flooding Facebook I think, even though I am sure this decision was made before that and not released till now.
  • Camikazi
    xX_PEMDAS_XxI thought when i signed up it told me what it was going to do with my information... and i hit accept ! I can't believe people are so dumb and think that FB didn't ask, all the while they were given permission...People are stupid, they never read EULAs and never check what permissions they give to websites, it should not be possible for anyone to sue or go after a company like Facebook for this when they CLEARLY state what they are gonna do with you information BEFORE you agree to it. I am not defending Facebook BTW, I can't stand them, but stupid people I can't stand more
  • Well, stupid people go on Facebook and brag about their lives. Next thing they know, they already gave away their lives for free.
  • eddieroolz
    Don't settle it FTC, pursue it!
  • vectorash
    This is nothing but a very small victory in the outgoing war of keeping our online data secure.
    I would have preffered to see the FTC give a way larger fine to Facebook for all of their "accidents" on privacy!
    Facebook settles with the FTC