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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.

Google Privacy Uproar Continues but What’s Really Going On?

The Google flap over privacy continues and the machine moves with fine efficiency. Take a look at these headlines.

Google Bypassing User Privacy Settings – MSDN

Microsoft: Google Bypasses Privacy Settings in Internet Explorer, Too – All Things D

Google Privacy Fiasco Lesson: There Is No Privacy – Computerworld

Not Just Google: Facebook Also Bypass Privacy Settings In IE – ZDNet’s Friending Facebook

More Sneaky Business About Google: It Bypasses Internet Explorer Privacy Settings Too – Business Insider

It seems that everyone wants to put Google on a skewer and roast them over an open fire. Makes for great headlines but let’s take a look at two quotes from two of the above articles. First, Friending Facebook

Google Hand-Holds Congress Through Privacy Concerns

Google must be getting paranoid by now. I bet Larry Page can’t fart without getting a letter from Congress these days.

The latest Congressional attention of course comes from the latest privacy scandal to hit the Internet. Oh, I’m sorry, I must have channeled my inner sensationalistic blogger for that last line. The only thing that has really happened, at least as Google says it of course, is the consolidation of privacy policies. That idea was enough to get members of Congress to get their hands out of lobbyists pockets and realize that the cameras might be rolling in an election year so they jumped to attention and called Google to protect your interests (wink, wink, nod, nod).

Google responded on their Public Policy Blog