privacy

Tim Bradshaw

Google remains on notice from the UK’s data protection watchdog after an audit found that it had taken “reasonable steps” to improve its privacy practices. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Well, that was fast. Just 48 hours after the FT flagged a loophole that “resharing” on Google+ could in a couple of clicks make a “limited” post visible to anyone, Google has announced a fix will be in place early next week. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

A big part of Google’s pitch for its new social networking service is that it’s easier for users to manage who sees what they post on the site.

Privacy has never been a strong suit for either Facebook or Google, but the Circles feature on Google+ is a simpler way to categorise groups of friends than is available on Facebook. Users are given the option of which Circles of contacts to share a piece of content with, each and every time they post something. Google has today been able to bathe in the rare warmth of widespread praise for its approach to privacy.

But this is a beta and there are going to be bugs. One appears to be in Google+’s “resharing” feature, which works a little like a retweet on Twitter or reblogging on Tumblr. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Facebook has admitted that it hired a public-relations firm in the US with the aim of placing stories critical of Google’s approach to privacy in the media.

The embarrassing disclosure is the latest sign of the increasing rivalry between Facebook and Google, as they go head-to-head over internet users’ time and advertisers’ budgets. Read more

Joseph Menn

Multiple members of the US Congress fired off letters to Apple this week about reports that iPhones not only store data about their owners whereabouts but leave unencrypted copies of the information on users’ main computers. Read more

Under pressure from regulators, two more browsers are taking steps to help users avoid having their internet activity tracked–if the websites they visit cooperate. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Glee and gloom in equal measure for Facebook today.

The latest forecasts by eMarketer pitch its global 2011 ad revenues at more than $4bn globally this year – double last year’s sales, and another eye-popping feat of scale.

But at the same time, Facebook is fending off another privacy outcry after allowing developers to access users’ addresses and phone numbers. Read more

David Gelles

Facebook is tangling with regulators around the world these days, and the company’s porous privacy settings have not escaped the ire of officials in Washington, DC.

So in an effort to cope with what is sure to be more international scrutiny, Facebook has hired a White House official to work with its policy team inside the Beltway.

Marne Levine, currently chief of staff at the White House National Economic Council, will join the world’s largest social network as vice president of global public policy. In her new role, she will help build and manage policy teams in Asia, the Americas and Europe. Read more

Maija Palmer

Facebook logoGiven the recent furore over the confusing privacy controls on Facebook, you would have thought that “Quit Facebook Day”, scheduled for Monday May 31, would be proving more popular. So far fewer than 25,000 people have signed up to the site set up by two Canadian web developers, pledging to delete their accounts from the social networking site.

Given that Facebook has somewhere around 500m users, these disgruntled leavers represent a minuscule fraction - 0.00005 per cent -  probably well within the normal levels of user churn. It seems, either Facebook’s latest attempts to improve its privacy controls have reassured the general public, or the vast majority of users don’t care enough about the issue to leave the site. Read more

David Gelles

Two days after Facebook unveiled simplified privacy controls, the furore over its perceived missteps is not dying down.

On Friday Congressman John Conyers, head of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Facebook asking it to cooperate with federal regulators looking into its privacy policies. Mr Conyers also sent a similar letter to Google, which is facing scrutiny after it admitted collecting wifi data.

Mr Conyers’ letter followed a conference call on Thursday during which several privacy advocates who had given Facebook credit for their effort on Wednesday took a harder line against the company and called for federal regulation of social networking sites. Read more