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Privacy groups petition Facebook data use policy changes

Facebook says its changes are only clarifications, not policy changes


In recent days, Facebook has spoken out against the NSA’s data collection, with Facebook General Counsel Colin Smith saying in early September, “The actions and statements of the US government have not adequately addressed the concerns of people around the world about whether their information is safe and secure with Internet companies.”

However, it’s now Facebook itself that is drawing the criticisms of privacy groups, who aren’t too happy with the social media site’s changing data use policies.

Officials of six privacy groups, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, petitioned the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Sept. 4 attempting to block Facebook from changing its data use policies. According to Bloomberg, the groups are concerned with how the company uses private user information for advertising.

“The Federal Trade Commission must act now to protect the interests of Facebook users,” the group’s petition said. “The right of a person to control the use of their image for commercial purposes is the cornerstone of modern privacy law.”

In late August, Facebook proposed changes to its data use policy as part of an agreement from a settled class action lawsuit. The company claims its updates to its “Data Use Policy” and “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities” seek to clarify exactly what information the company will use.

“We revised our explanation of how things like your name, profile picture and content may be used in connection with ads or commercial content to make it clear that you are granting Facebook permission for this use when you use our services,” Debbie Frost, a spokeswoman for Facebook, told Bloomberg. “We have not changed our ads practices or policies.”


For more on Facebook’s recent legal battles, check out these InsideCounsel articles:

6 notable GCs in the news

Congressman asks to bar NSA’s “back doors” to encryption

Facebook and Yahoo ask court to allow them to publish data

Technology: Regulatory guidance for digital advertising disclosures

Assistant Editor

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Zach Warren

Zach Warren is Assistant Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he oversees online content submissions and administers InsideCounsel's enewsletters. Zach specializes in new media and multimedia...

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