Date

Tue - 21.11.2017


privacy

As the Republican primaries heat up in the US, news organizations everywhere are trying to predict the winner. But while none of them have a crystal ball, Politico does have a new source of knowledge at its disposal: Facebook.

Last Thursday Politico and Facebook announced they were partnering up to measure user opinion of Republican candidates. A Facebook data team is using an automated process to measure how often users are mentioning, sharing and linking to GOP candidates and whether these mentions are positive or negative. The results are handed onto Politico, whose journalists analyse and publish them. The first set of data is already out.

The project has been greeted by many as great opportunity to paint a detailed picture of voter opinion. Mashable writes that the vast number of Facebook users and the huge amount of information that Facebook holds on them means that the social network "can become a unique space to conduct survey-based research". Read Write Web writes that "Facebook could be the biggest, most dynamic census of human opinion and interaction in history".

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-16 18:01

HTML 5, the latest version of code used to create websites, is expected to further erode users' privacy, by letting sites know where users are physically located, as well as better track browsing histories. Consumer activists and privacy advocates are certain to be against these privacy threats, but those in the journalism world may find it to be their "salvation," writes The New York Times's Robert Wright.

"The willingness of advertisers to spend the money that sustains journalists has always depended on having information about the reader," he stated. And, as online players get bigger, the power they wield increases as they obtain more user data. Wright points to Google, Yahoo and Facebook as the top examples of firms obtaining more and more user information.

Image: WSJ. Click here for the interactive version.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-10-20 18:00

Community-funded Facebook rival Diaspora released its first code to developers and provided screenshots of

the site, BBC News informed today. The self-proclaimed "privacy-aware, personally-controlled" social network might be launching the first product as early as October 2010.

The site was started as a project by four New York University students at the beginning of the year, when Facebook was criticized for its privacy policy. Max Salzberg, one of Diaspora's co-founders, said that the project was aimed at granting users with the ability to control what they share, BBC News wrote. The project may not be "bug-free or feature-complete but it [is] an important step for putting us, the users, in control," the team said in a blog.

The Guardian described the features available on Diaspora, mentioning that in addition to normal social network features the site might provide users with Facebook integration, internationalization and data portability.However, the inteface may be inspired directly by Facebook, the Guardian suggested.

Author

Alisa Zykova

Date

2010-09-16 19:53

European Union officials are scrutinising the actions of Google and Facebook, and investigating complaints about anti-competitive behaviour and unlawful storing of information alleged against the two, paidContent reported yesterday.

In Germany, data protection officer Johannes Caspar brought a complaint against Facebook into the spotlight, saying the social networking site is breaching privacy by illegally accessing and saving information of users that aren't even registered with the site, The Associated Press reported.

Facebook has been allotted a time span until August 11 to respond to the complaint. The reply will determine if the case will be extended or not.

The EU has also been monitoring the behaviour of search giant Google after receiving complaints from three companies - Foundem, a UK search site, Ciao, an online shopping site owned by Microsoft, and ejustice.fr, a French legal services site, The Sun reported. The companies claim Google is "fixing" search results by ranking its rivals lower in results - a practice that breaches EU competition law.

Author

Savita Sauvin

Date

2010-07-09 22:17

In an unexpected turn of events, Google announced today its Chinese operating license has been renewed, The Washington Post reported today.

Although Google receives just a small share of its revenue from its operations in the country, many experts see this move as a compromise by Google to appease China, because exiting the country completely would have meant locking out potential opportunities in the world's largest market of online and mobile users.

"We are very pleased that the government has renewed our ICP license and we look forward to continuing to provide Web search and local products to our users in China,"Google's chief legal officer David Drummond wrote in the online giant's blog.

In January, Google announced it was rethinking how businesses was being done in China, following the breach of Gmail accounts belonging to Chinese human rights activists. The "highly sophisticated" cyber attacks originated from within China. In March, the company officially removed its search site from Chinese servers, submerging the country in a partial Google blackout, and moved its moved its search operations off the mainland to Hong Kong.

Author

Savita Sauvin

Date

2010-07-09 20:23

Breaking promises information would not be shared without users' consent, Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites have been sending user data to advertising companies. This information can be mined for names and other personal information, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

In sending the information to ad companies, the social networks gave user names or ID numbers that are linked to personal profiles being viewed when users clicked on ads. "After questions were raised by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook and MySpace moved to make changes. By Thursday morning Facebook had rewritten some of the offending computer code," the article stated.

Other than Facebook and MySpace, the other offending sites were Xanga, Digg, LiveJournal and Hi5.

"If you are looking at your profile page and you click on an ad, you are telling that advertiser who you are," Ben Edelman, assistant professor at Harvard Business School who studies online advertising, explained to the Journal about how Facebook operated before the fix. He was asked to look at the code on the seven sites on behalf of the Journal.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-05-21 22:06

The generation of digital natives, known for sharing everything online, knows what to keep offline and how to protect themselves online better than older adults, many of whom don't know how much they're actually sharing, a Pew study, to be released soon, has found.

Researchers interviewed more than 2,200 people, and found that people ages 18 to 29 are more likely to monitor their privacy settings on social networking sites than older adults, The New York Times reported yesterday. This group is also more likely to remove their names from photos so they cannot be identified, and delete comments on their profiles.

Teens under age 18 were not interviewed, and because they are not yet in university or starting their careers, likely have different privacy concerns. However, "anecdotal evidence suggests that many of them have not had enough experience to understand the downside to oversharing," The Times article stated.

Social networking sites have a financial incentive for getting users to share as much as possible. Facebook has recently rolled out a much more open, much less private version, sharing users "like"s, profile pictures and shared links with the masses, as well as accidentally allowing users' friends to see private chats.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-05-10 21:23

Facebook's new Graph API, released last Friday, allows users to see public events people have said they will attend or have attended - even if that person is not a "friend" of the user viewing the information, MediaGuardian reported today. The new API was just one new feature unveiled last week during F8, Facebook's developers conference.

According to Facebook, however, the API simply "attempts to simplify the way developers read and write data to Facebook. It presents a simple, consistent view of the Facebook social graph, uniformly representing objects in the graph (e.g., people, photos, events, and fan pages) and the connections between them (e.g., friend relationships, shared content, and photo tags)... All of the objects in the Facebook social graph are connected to each other via relationships. Bret Taylor is a fan of the Coca-Cola page, and Bret Taylor and Arjun Banker are friends. We call those relationships connections in our API."

Ka-Ping Yee, a software engineer for Google's charitable branch, first discovered that information about people was being made to non-"friends." He also found that this information is released randomly - in some cases you can see public events people say they will attend or have attended, but not all.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-04-26 22:36

Senior government officials from 10 countries are asking Google to increase privacy controls. In a letter to CEO Eric Schmidt, officials are asking the online giant to protect users as it introduces a growing number of products, the Guardian reported yesterday.

People around the world are "being forgotten," the letter states. "It is unacceptable to roll out a product that unilaterally renders personal information public, with the intention of repairing problems later as they arise," such as the situation that arose when Google Buzz was launched. "We call on you ... to incorporate fundamental privacy principles directly into the design of your new services."

The initiative was begun by Canadian privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart, and also includes leaders from France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom, together representing 375 million people, according to The National Business Review of New Zealand.

"The launch of Google Buzz was commercial experimentation on New Zealanders and other internet users, involving the release of significant personal information. We think people deserve better," Marie Shroff, New Zealand's privacy commissioner, told the NBR.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-04-21 19:22

News of the World, known for publishing salacious details of celebrities' lives, has been cleared of charges it hacked the mobile telephones of various subjects in search of bombshell coverage, Agence France-Presse today reported.

The investigation by the UK Press Complaints Commission followed The Guardian's report in July that Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers, which publishes News of the World, had paid out more than £1 million to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of the tabloid's repeated use of criminal methods to get stories.

In August 2006, a News of the World editor and a private investigator were jailed after members of the royal family told Scotland Yard that certain stories about them must have been sourced from voicemail messages on their mobile phones, The Guardian today reported.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2009-11-09 17:58

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