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FTC Releases Final Consumer Privacy Recommendations

If you have some free time today, the FTC just released a new 112 page report on marketing and consumer privacy that you might find interesting.

The report title is almost as long as the report. It’s called “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers.” Note the word “proposed.” This report doesn’t establish any new laws, but they are rather firm in their “suggestions.”

Think of it as a parent who “suggests” that a teen be home at a reasonable hour. They might look the other way if the teen come in after midnight once or twice, but if it becomes a habit . . .

Here’s FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz in the parent role;

Facebook None Too Thrilled With Recent Employer Actions

As you have probably seen recently, there are reports coming out of Facebook accounts being an integral part of job interviews. Of course, we know that if something is public on Facebook it can be found by anyone. That’s fine. It’s the direct requests by employers to prospective employees to give them their login and password for their Facebook account that has many up in arms. Included in that many is Facebook itself.

Facebook released a statement called “Protecting Your Passwords and Your Privacy” that leads with

In recent months, we’ve seen a distressing increase in reports of employers or others seeking to gain inappropriate access to people’s Facebook profiles or private information. This practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends. It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability.

Facebook’s New Privacy Policy Isn’t All That Private

Facebook has just released their proposed changes to their privacy policy and it’s got the masses upset. (Surprise!).

First and foremost, they’ve changed the name of the document from Privacy Policy to Data Use Policy and that should tell you all you need to know.

Let me pause a moment to reiterate my feelings on internet privacy. I see it as an oxymoron. If you put content in a public space, I don’t care if you mark it private and lock it up six ways to Sunday, you have to understand that it’s not secure. If someone wants that information badly enough, they’ll get it and spread it around as they please. So don’t put information online you don’t want your mother or girlfriend to see.

German News Producers Want Search Engines to Pay for Content

Content is what makes Google run. Every result it returns is linked to a piece of content somewhere else on the web, be it an article, photo, video or website. Over the years, Google has increased the detail in their results so you get a better idea of what’s behind the curtain before you click.

All results have a couple of lines of text under them drawn from the start of the article or keywords from the site. Some even show you a preview of the site before you click. All of this is intended to help the searcher find what he needs. So it’s a good thing for both the searcher and the content provider, right?

Perfect 10′s Lawsuit Against Google is a Bust!

It’s a bit of a slow news day so let’s take a look at something from the “This is not a good business model” file.

It seems that that Perfect 10 which is a former publisher of smut has decided that they will try to sue everyone. Hey, it keeps the overhead down (since your only employee is a low life lawyer or two) and if you hit it big (pathetic pun completely unintended) you can hit the jackpot and ride off into the sunset with your unearned earnings. Nice story, huh?

Well, fortunately it looks like cooler legal heads are prevailing. A Google victory has been upheld in this process (at least in one court) and the implications for others, including the likes of Pinterest, could be wide ranging. Mike Masnick of techdirt reports

Senator Calls FTC to Probe Apple and Google on Mobile Privacy

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has never met a chance to get in the headlines that he didn’t like.

His latest effort comes in the form of a letter to the FTC chair and wants the agency to look into mobile phone privacy in general. He has “specific” concerns that he was certainly briefed on (I wonder if he has truly experienced anything himself) but in the end this is likely to bring Apple into the fray (which they usually steer clear of somehow) while just bringing Google to another hearing in DC. Here are the contents of the letter courtesy of the Times Herald-Record

Dear Chairman Leibowitz,

Google to Face Legal Vultures on Privacy, Will Others As Well?

Google is getting ready to face the legal music for its latest dalliance with regard to privacy. That makes sense only in a world where lawyers run the show. I don’t understand the process of how these things work. I am not a lawyer and I did not spend the night in a Holiday Inn Express so I am SOL in understanding what is about to hapen.

Fortunately, Jeff Roberts of paidcontent.org, IS a lawyer and wrote a post explaining what Google is about to get tangled with for the right to continue doing business like everyone else.

In a case filed on Friday, a Missouri man says Google violated the Wiretap Act and asked for damages on behalf of 62 million users. The case names only Google and not the handful of advertising agencies who allegedly performed similar actions. Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reports that a similar lawsuit has been filed against Google in Delaware.