Published by LawTechie - September 30, 2011 - LawTechie

Internet Lawyer New YorkThe FTC is being asked to, once again, investigate Facebook on consumer privacy violation charges. Several digital rights groups have asked the FTC to look into the latest Facebook privacy scandal involving Facebook’s admission that it was tracking websites that users visited even when they were logged out of the social networking service.

“We would like the FTC to investigate the extent to which Facebook’s recent changes and its secret tracking of users after they have logged out constitute unfair or deceptive business practice,” said David Jacobs, consumer protection fellow for EPIC, in a telephone interview.

The letter to the FTC references a Sept. 25 blog posting by Australian blogger Nik Cubrilovic, who wrote that Facebook placed so-called “cookies” on users’ browsers that tracked their Internet activity even after they logged out of Facebook. Although Facebook moved to resolve the issue, “it’s unclear how complete the fix is,” Jacobs said.

This story is getting a good amount of attention in the media. Facebook’s response:

“There was no security or privacy breach,” Andrew Noyes, a Facebook spokesman, said in an e-mail. “Facebook did not store or use any information it should not have.

It seems that Facebook’s argument is that users have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their web browser history. As far as internet and privacy laws goes, this will, no doubt,  be an interesting and important issue for courts to tackle.

LawTechie is a blog focusing on trends in tech and digital media. Areas covered include intellectual property, cyberlaw, venture capital, transactions and litigation as they relate to the emerging sectors. The blog is edited by the firm's partner Tim Bukher with contributions from the firm's experts in their respective areas of law.


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