- Privacy and Terms of Service Changes on Instagram Effective January 16, 2013, Instagram is updating its Privacy and Terms of Service documents. The new policies, which can be read on their blog, addresses sharing user information as a part of Facebook and new spam/abuse policies. The biggest change, found in the ‘Rights’ section of the new Terms of Service, gives Instagram the right to use your photos and profile information in ads without compensation. [Instagram Blog]
- Facebook to Launch Its Own Snapchat Competitor App Facebook is prepping to launch a service that will go head-to-head with Snapchat, a popular app that lets users send photos and short videos to one another—which are then automatically deleted after a brief increment of time. Facebook’s as-yet unnamed application will be, much like its Messenger and Camera apps, entirely self-contained and separate from the main Facebook app. Look for its release before the year’s end. [AllThingsD]
- New Rhapsody for iPad and iPad Mini: the Fastest, Most Visually-Stunning Rhapsody Experience Yet Premium music streaming service Rhapsody has released a new iPad app. Built for the ground up for the tablet with a visual-heavy interface, the Rhapsody app comes with a free 30-day trial for those looking to give it a shot. [Rhapsody Blog]
VIENNA (Reuters) – An Austrian student group plans to go to court in a bid to make Facebook Inc, the world’s biggest social network, do more to protect the privacy of its hundreds of millions of members.
Privacy campaign group europe-v-facebook, which has been lobbying for better data protection by Facebook for over a year, said on Tuesday it planned to go to court to appeal against decisions by the data protection regulator in Ireland, where Facebook has its international headquarters.
The move is one of a number of campaigns against the giants of the internet, which are under pressure from investors to generate more revenue from their huge user bases but which also face criticism for storing and sharing personal information.
Europe-v-facebook has won some concessions from Facebook, notably pushing it to switch off its facial recognition feature in Europe.
But the group said on Tuesday the changes did not go far enough and it was disappointed with the response of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, which had carried out an audit after the campaign group filed numerous complaints.
“The Irish obviously have no great political interest in going up against these companies because they’re so dependent on the jobs they c! reate,” europe-v-facebook founder Max Schrems told Reuters.
Gary Davies, Ireland’s deputy data protection commissioner, denied Facebook’s investment in Ireland had influenced regulation of the company.
“We have handled this in a highly professional and focused way and we have brought about huge changes in the way Facebook handles personal data,” he told Reuters.
Schrems, who has filed 22 complaints with the Irish regulator, said more than 40,000 Facebook users who had requested a copy of the data Facebook was holding on them had not received anything several months after making a request.
The law student also questioned why Facebook had only switched off facial recognition for users in the European Union, even though Ireland is the headquarters for all of Facebook’s users outside the United States and Canada.
Facebook is under pressure to reverse a trend of slowing revenue growth by selling more valuable advertising, which requires better profiling of its users.
Investors are losing patience with the social network, whose shares have dropped 40 percent in value since the company’s record-breaking $104 billion initial public offering in May.
Last month, Facebook proposed to combine its user data with that of its recently acquired photo-sharing service Instagram, loosen restrictions on emails between its members and share data with other businesses and affiliates that it owns.
Facebook is also facing a class-action lawsuit in the United States, where it is charged with violating privacy rights by publicizing users’ “likes” without giving them a way to opt out.
A U.S. judge late on Monday gave his preliminary approval to a second attem! pt to se ttle the case by paying users up to $10 each out of a settlement fund of $20 million.
Ireland also hosts the European headquarters of other high-tech firms including Microsoft and Google thanks to generous tax breaks.
Europe-v-facebook said it believed its Irish lawsuit had the potential to become a test case for data protection law and had a good chance of landing up in the European Court of Justice.
Schrems said the case could cost the group around 100,000 euros ($130,000), which it hoped to raise via crowd-funding – money provided by a collection of individuals – on the Internet.
(Additional reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin; Editing by Mark Potter)
(This story was corrected to fix the headline, lead and the first paragraph to show that the campaign group plans to sue Irish regulator, not Facebook, in the first instance)
Copyright (2012) Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions
Brewster, the new contacts management app for iPhone, had a few privacy leaks on launch day yesterday.
We pressed Brewster for more details, but they would only give us this statement:
“We take privacy extremely seriously at Brewster. When we launched yesterday, we had a tremendous number of user signups, and fixed a number of problems, including scale issues and bugs.
One unfortunate problem that arose was for Foursquare users who were fans, but not friends, of other Foursquare users. Even further, Foursquare only offers the ability to be fanned to an extremely small number of users. In this case, if we had the contact information from a full Foursquare friend, we briefly displayed their contact information to fans. This happened with one user who was fans of multiple people on Foursquare.
As soon as we heard of this issue from the user, we made sure this bug was resolved immediately, and put safeguards in place to ensure it never happens again. This is the only instance we heard of this issue.
Separately, from this bug, we have also responded to questions from users related to information that they had access to from different services. For instance, a user might have a public photo available that they haven’t seen before, or a phone number rightfully accessible if connected on Foursquare. These instances are completely consistent with the access the user gives these third-party services.
Brewster strives to be a trusted personalized address book for our users. We hope this serves as an example of how seriously we take issues of privacy, how candid we will be if issues ever arise, and that our users remain a top priority.
Google recently announced it was unifying its privacy policies and would be sharing the data it collects about users between all of its products, starting March 1st. That means your web searches and sites you visit will be combined with other Google products like Google Plus and YouTube. If you’d rather avoid that, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reminds us you can remove your Google search history and stop it from being recorded.
Turning off search history is one of the top Google settings you may already know about anyway if you didn’t want Google recording any sensitive searches (health, location, interests, religion, etc.), but with Google becoming more like AOL these days, now’s as good a time as any to check if you’ve got your web history paused or not.
If you’re not logged into Google already, log in. Then, go to https://google.com/history. Click “remove all Web History” and “OK”. Doing so will pause the recording of your searches going forward until you enable it again.
Just one question.
Who reads privacy policies?
You probably don’t. Just like you don’t read the terms and conditions when you download and install software, or sign up for an online email account, or rip the tag off a new mattress.
The 1% of you who do read privacy policies are probably the exact same 1% who are losing sleep because information from your iPhone address book was secretly being uploaded to the servers of Path and some other app makers.
So the Attorney General and the six companies win for looking aware and concerned about online privacy, and the privacy zealots get to rest a little easier before going off on their next crusade. (Probably against Google.)
Plus, apps makers now all have to hire lawyers to write up these privacy policies and interns to put the policies online and build links to them in their apps. Which increases employment!
Wins all around. Well done.
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Well this is mildly terrifying: according to a new Pew study, the Facebook privacy mode a lot of us rely on for photos and status updates is, on average, anything but private. Time to reconsider your settings, everyone.
The finding is staggering—Friends of Friends can hit as many as over seven million people:
Facebook users can reach an average of more than 150,000 Facebook users through their Facebook friends; the median user can reach about 31,000 others. At two degrees of separation (friends-of-friends), Facebook users in our sample can on average reach 156,569 other Facebook users. However, the relatively small number of users with very large friends lists, who also tended to have lists that are less interconnected, overstates the reach of the typical Facebook user. In our sample, the maximum reach was 7,821,772 other Facebook users. The median user (the middle user from our sample) can reach 31,170 people through their friends-of-friends.
When you think friend of a friend, the IRL analogue comes to mind. Your buddy’s buddy. That guy you met at a bar who seems okay. Your girlfriend’s pals from college. They must be okay people, right? They’re so narrowly removed from you, why not share all your photos with them?
Because 150,000+ people includes a hell of a lot of strangers you probably shouldn’t trust, and certainly don’t (and will never) know personally. You can read the study in its entirety below. [Pew]
Starting on March 1, Google will allow itself to share your personal information across Google services, as long as you’re signed in.
Google previously had 60 separate privacy policies for different products. Now, it’s got just one.
Among the changes:
- Google can now look at what you’ve been doing on YouTube, Gmail, and Google+ to suggest search results and “more relevant ads.”
- Google can take information you provide on your Google Profile, including your name and photo, and use it on all your other Google products like Gmail — and can replace past names you used, so you’re the same on all sites.
- Google will collect information from your mobile device, including your phone number, and associate it with your Google Account.
Here’s the most relevant bit pulled from the full policy:
We use the information we collect from all of our services to provide, maintain, protect and improve them, to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users. We also use this information to offer you tailored content – like giving you more relevant search results and ads.
We may use the name you provide for your Google Profile across all of the services we offer that require a Google Account. In addition, we may replace past names associated with your Google Account so that you are represented consistently across all our services. If other users already have your email, or other information that identifies you, we may show them your publicly visible Google Profile information, such as your name and photo.
You can compare it against the current version here.
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Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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