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Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (9/9/2011)

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (9/9/2011)

By Caitlin O'Neill, Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Associate, ACLU of Northern California at 3:12pm
In the digital age that we live in today, we are constantly exposing our personal information online. From using cell phones and GPS devices to online shopping and sending e-mail, the things we do and say online leave behind ever-growing trails of personal information. The ACLU believes that Americans shouldn’t have to choose between using new technology and keeping control of your private information. Each week, we feature some of the most interesting news related to technology and civil liberties that we’ve spotted from the previous week.
Facebook Application Privacy Breach Exposed

Facebook Application Privacy Breach Exposed

By Nicole Ozer, Technology & Civil Liberties Policy Director, ACLU of Northern California at 2:02pm

This past weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that the most popular Facebook apps consistently share information about you and your friends with advertisers and other third parties, no matter what your privacy settings are.

We Don't Want Simpler Controls—We Simply Want Control

By Nicole Ozer, Technology & Civil Liberties Policy Director, ACLU of Northern California at 5:11pm

Facebook has been taking heat for its recent privacy-unfriendly practices, from the "privacy transition" that took away privacy controls to "instant personalization" that instantly shares personal information with third party…

Is Facebook Unliking Privacy?

By Chris Conley, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California Technology and Civil Liberties Project at 5:46pm

(Originally posted on the ACLU of Northern California's Bytes and Pieces blog.)

Today, Facebook released proposed changes to its privacy policy and its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Facebook's newest changes seem to be designed…

Is Facebook’s Application Dashboard Missing a Privacy Gauge?

By Chris Conley, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California Technology and Civil Liberties Project at 10:27am

Facebook is once again rolling out changes to its user interface, including new Applications and Games Dashboards that it says will “mak[e] it easier for you to find and interact with applications.” And, once again, these changes affect…

Quiz Facebook: Will We Have Control over Our Own Information?

By Chris Conley, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California Technology and Civil Liberties Project at 5:32pm

Today, in response to an inquiry by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Facebook announced plans to enhance user privacy over the next year. Some of these plans address third party applications, like quizzes and games, that have access to a lot of…

Facebook's Latest About-Face

By Chris Conley, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California Technology and Civil Liberties Project at 1:01pm

(Originally posted on the ACLU of Northern California's technology blog, Bytes and Pieces.)

Facebook, hardly a stranger to controversy, set off yet another firestorm recently when it changed its Terms of Use. The previous terms of service explicitly stated that Facebook’s license to use user-created content expired as soon as the user deleted the content or cancelled her account:

You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.

The new terms, however, removed this sentence, suggesting that Facebook retained a license to user-created or uploaded content forever, whatever the user might do. This small change triggered a storm of outrage, eventually leading Facebook to reverse course and withdraw the new Terms of Use.

Activists Leverage Stronger EU Privacy Laws to Seek More Information on PRISM

Activists Leverage Stronger EU Privacy Laws to Seek More Information on PRISM

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:03pm

A group of European activists yesterday filed complaints with European data protection authorities against Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Skype, and Yahoo alleging that the companies are violating EU privacy law by cooperating with the NSA's PRISM…

The Government, Privacy, and Companies (The Ones We Pay and the Ones We Don’t)

The Government, Privacy, and Companies (The Ones We Pay and the Ones We Don’t)

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:18pm

Privacy researcher Chris Soghoian gave a very nice talk at TEDx recently on “Why Google Won’t Protect You From Big Brother.” He provides a cogent overview and some useful perspective on the relationship between companies and the government,…

Facebook: $100 Billion IPO. Almost 1 Billion Users. You Do the Math.

Facebook: $100 Billion IPO. Almost 1 Billion Users. You Do the Math.

The big news in the business world this week is Facebook’s ongoing Initial Public Offering, where the company is selling shares to the public based on an estimated value of around one hundred billion dollars. [Or, as Dr. Evil would say: one hundred…

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