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Happy Belated Data Privacy Day!

data privacyYesterday was Data Privacy Day. I can’t believe I missed it. It probably slipped by me while I was carefully deleting my browser history, cookie cache, old social media accounts, personal photos and every bit of contact information from the web. Whew, that was quite a job.

While I was doing that, sites all over the internet were posting reports to show how seriously they take this issue of internet privacy.

Google updated their transparency report this month to include a breakdown of legal requests by type. You can now see how many subpenas and search warrants were issued. They recieved 21,389 requests for information from July to December of 2012.

Over One Third of User Data Requests to Google Come From US

Google’s latest Transparency Report numbers make one thing very clear. The United States government is not afraid to request data from the search giant as compared to the rest of the world.

In fact of the countries shown in the map below the US account for more than 1/3 of the total requests to Google by governments for user data. At over 16,000 accounts are represented in that this number which is 47% of the total accounts being requested from January – June of 2012.

Is there a meaning here?

LinkedIn’s Security Woes Pour Salt On Social Media’s Exposed Wounds

LinkedIn is in the middle of a pretty bad run. Their latest problems are around the phishing attacks on LinkedIn users that can be attributed to hacked passwords being handed out like candy on a Russian hacker site.

This is the latest in a series of security issues that has plagued the social network choice of the professional set. The New York Times Bits blog reports

The phishing attack marks the third headache for the professional social network in 24 hours. On Tuesday, security researchers said that a LinkedIn mobile app had been leaking sensitive calendar information to LinkedIn’s Web servers without their knowledge. On Wednesday, the breach exposed vulnerabilities in LinkedIn’s data security practices, specifically that the social network did not isolate users’ credentials on separate, secure machines and failed to “salt” passwords by appending random characters to them before encoding them.

Is it Really Just Social SPAMedia?

Spam. If only it were just the ‘meat product’ that spawned many stomachaches and a very funny Monty Python skit (If you would like to see it just skip to the end of the post now. It’s spamtastic).

Apparently, spam is kind of like a bacteria or a virus. How? Well, it is being fought on the e-mail front with a pretty good level of success. Sure spam e-mail still exists but improved filters, consumer awareness and a general hatred for the stuff has minimized its impact over the past few years. OK, so I may only be speaking for myself here. If you disagree we have a lovely comments section for your griping pleasure.

Nearly Half of UK Marketers are Unprepared for Cookie Deadline

On May 26, 2011 (that’s American for 26 May 2011) the UK put new laws into affect governing the use of cookies on websites. Online companies were given a year to comply and that year is almost up.

So how are they doing?

Not so good. According to a poll by the UK DMA, 47% of UK marketers aren’t confident that they’ve met the requirements. The confusion lies in what exactly constitutes “consent” from the consumer.

Further results make it clear that many marketers are simply closing their eyes and hoping for the best.

The report states that 3 in 5 marketers don’t even have a plan to deal with the law and 79% haven’t communicated the changes to their visitors on their websites.

Study Shows Facebook Related Privacy Problems are on the Rise

An IRS officer learns that a taxpayer he’s investigating is a comedian who posts a video on a social network to promote previous and upcoming performances. . .

Sounds like the start of a “guy walks into a bar joke” but that line comes from the 2009 IRS agent training manual. It goes on to suggest that the agent use this knowledge to track down how much the comedian was paid or use his future dates to arrange delivery of a summons.

This is just one of the eye-openers you’ll find in the new Consumer Reports: State of the Net Report. Instead of simply surveying Facebook users, Consumer Reports interviewed developers, lawyers, security experts and non-profit groups that dig out all kinds of hidden information. What they found is that Facebook is become less and less secure. I’m sure you already knew that, but I’ll bet there are a few ideas here you’ve never thought about.

Facebook Makes Changes to the Changes in Their Privacy Policy

Facebook would like to thank everyone who took the time to carry on and complain about the recent proposed changes in their Privacy. . . I mean. . . Data Use policy. They’ve taken everyone’s comments into consideration and now they’d like to make some changes to the changes, or at least re-explain the explanation of the changes they’ve changed.

I believe this would be a good time to quote Billy Flynn in Chicago.

Give ‘em the old three ring circus
Stun and stagger ‘em
When you’re in trouble, go into your dance
Though you are stiffer than a girder
They’ll let you get away with murder
Razzle dazzle ‘em and you’ve got a romance

Think I’m being too hard on Facebook? One of the biggest complaints about the original round of changes was this line: