[IRP] EPIC DEFENDS PRIVACY OF FACEBOOK USERS: FILES COMPLAINT WITH FTC
Fri Dec 18 00:28:14 EET 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 17, 2009, 12:00 pm EST
EPIC DEFENDS PRIVACY OF FACEBOOK USERS: FILES COMPLAINT WITH FTC
Leading Privacy Organization says that Recent Changes by Facebook to
User Privacy Settings are Unfair and Deceptive
WASHINGTON DC ? The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC),
joined by nine privacy and consumer organizations, today filed a
complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charging that
Facebook?s recent changes to user privacy settings violate federal
consumer protection law.
The EPIC complaint urges the Trade Commission to open an investigation
into the recent changes made by Facebook to the privacy settings of
Facebook users and to require Facebook to restore privacy safeguards.
?This is the most significant case now before the Federal Trade
Commission,? said Marc Rotenberg, EPIC Executive Director. ?More than
100 million people in the United States subscribe to the Facebook
service. The company should not be allowed to turn down the privacy
dial on so many American consumers.?
On November 19 and December 9, Facebook changed key privacy settings
and required Facebook users to go through a ?transition tool? before
they could obtain access to their accounts.
According to the EPIC complaint, far more user information became
publicly available as result of this change. EPIC also said that more
personal information will become available to third party application
developers as a result of the changes to the privacy settings.
The EPIC complaint cites widespread opposition to the changes by
Facebook users, news organizations, bloggers, and security experts.
Ed Felten, a security expert and Princeton University professor,
wrote, ?As a user myself, I was pretty unhappy about the recently
changed privacy control. I felt that Facebook was trying to trick me
into loosening controls on my information.?
Danny Sullivan, the editor of Search Engine Land and an expert in
search engine design, wrote on his blog, ?I was disturbed to discover
things I previously had as options were no longer in my control.?
The EPIC complaint also cites the creation of new Facebook user
groups, such as ?Against The New Facebook Privacy Settings!? and
?Facebook! Fix the Privacy Settings.?
Among the organizations supporting the EPIC complaint are the American
Library Association, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Consumer
Federation of America, FoolProof Financial Education, Patient Privacy
Rights, Privacy Activism, the Privacy Rights Now Coalition, the
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and the U. S. Bill of Rights Foundation.
The EPIC is a public interest research center based in Washington, DC.
EPIC focuses public attention on emerging privacy and civil liberties
issues. Previous EPIC complaints to the FTC have led to the largest
judgment in the Commission?s history, substantial changes to online
authentication techniques, and the recent decision of the Department
of Defense to stop selling a spyware program to military families.
# # #
EPIC?s Complaint, ?In re Facebook,? filed December 17, 2009
Background on EPIC Complaint, ?In re Facebook?
EPIC, Facebook and Privacy
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