In today’s Quick Hits, we share some opinions on the FTC’s “Do Not Track” proposal, as well as a case of online harassment.
Facebook is looking to expand its Washington D.C. office to eight, adding a public-policy expert and a deputy press spokesman. Facebook’s growing D.C. team is seen as an attempt to advocate the company’s position on privacy issues before Congress, the FTC, and myriad other institutions on Capitol Hill. This article from Bloomberg offers a timeline of Facebook’s privacy problems over the last few years and the steps the company has taken to correct perceptions that it doesn’t care about user privacy.
This article and video segment from the Today Show reveals how one Florida State University was duped into revealing personal details about herself and her life over Facebook by someone pretending to be one of her older sorority sisters. The same thing happened to several other sorority pledges on campus, leading to an ongoing investigation by campus police. The incident demonstrates that social media users should be on guard against scams and that you shouldn’t trust stranger’s online.
In an article for Fast Company, Austin Carr writes that Facebook and Google will “survive” the FTC’s recently proposed “Do Not Track” recommendations, explaining that the FTC’s proposals may not be effective at curbing data monitoring and that nobody has offered an explanation of how the tool would actually work. In his article, Carr quotes members of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an industry trade group that opposes federal legislation of behavioral advertising.
In a blog post for The Hill, Steve Sullivan, head of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s West Coast Office, makes a forceful argument against the FTC’s “Do Not Track” proposals, calling it an “irresponsible policy, leading to a degraded online experience for consumers.” Many political insiders have speculated that the Commerce Department’s recommendations will be more business friendly than the FTC’s proposals.
In an admirable attempt to prevent businesses from having their Google Places listing tampered with by competitors, Google has begun contacting business owners whenever an edit is made to their listing. This can help business owners prevent an unauthorized individual from changing some critical piece of information on their listing, such as a phone number, address, or by saying that the business has closed.
A Pennsylvania couple, the Boring family, sued Google for trespassing a couple of years ago after they found their home displayed in Google’s Street View service. The case was initially thrown out, but a judge recently sided in favor of the Boring family and awarded the couple a one dollar settlement from Google. It’s not much, but it’s something. Unfortunately for the Borings, they will have to pay their own legal costs.