Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: E-Commerce

Facebook in the Spotlight: Dataism vs. Privacy

JURIST Guest Columnist Chris Hoofnagle of Berkeley Law, discusses the policing of Facebook’s privacy policies and FTC enforcement: “Are our institutions up to the challenge of protecting users from information-age problems? This is the high-level question emerging from the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica debate. While on one hand Facebook and similarly-situated companies will pay some regulatory price, our public institutions are also in the crosshairs. In the U.S., the much-praised and admired Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) approach is suffering a crisis of legitimacy. Facebook’s European regulator, the Irish data protection commissioner, is losing both control over its supervision of American companies and the respect of its regulatory colleagues. In a recent press release, the Article 29 Working Party announced that it was creating a working group focusing on social media, never mentioning the Irish in its statement. In this essay I explain the challenges the FTC faces in enforcing its 2012 consent agreement against Facebook and suggest ways it could nonetheless prevail. In the long run, everyone wins if our civil society institutions can police Facebook, including the company itself. While Facebook’s privacy problems have long been dismissed as harmless, advertising-related controversies, all now understand Facebook’s power over our broader information environment. After Brexit, the 2016 U.S. election, and violence in Myanmar, if consumer law fails, we risk turning to more heavy-handed regulatory tools, including cyber sovereignty approaches, with attendant consequences for civil society and internet freedom…”

See also – EPIC Sues FTC for Release of Facebook’s Audits

Chrome allows users to specify video autoplay blocking

PCWorld: “If you’re the type of person who detests autoplaying video ads with sound, Google’s Chrome browser provides some help. Google Chrome 66 will mute autoplaying video by default, permanently, so even if a video pops up—and Chrome can block some of those, too!—it won’t blow you out of your seat. The Chrome 66 release is now… Continue Reading

TIME – 100 Most Influential People of 2018

The 100 Most Influential People of 2018 [Searchable List] – “TIME’s annual list of the world’s most influential people is a designation of individuals whose time, in our estimation, is happening right now.” Thoughts about each individual on the list are written by a wide range of iconic individuals who likewise have been pioneers in… Continue Reading

A dozen tech experts opine on what went wrong with Facebook and the answer is?

The Internet Apologizes…Even those who designed our digital world are aghast at what they created. A breakdown of what went wrong — from the architects who built it. By Noah Kulwin, New York Magazine. “Something has gone wrong with the internet. Even Mark Zuckerberg knows it. Testifying before Congress, the Facebook CEO ticked off a… Continue Reading

The Verge – 7 takeaways from Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before the House

These members of Congress did their homework: “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made his second of two appearances before Congress on Wednesday, enduring a five-hour session of questions from members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In contrast to their amiably confused counterparts in the Senate, members of the House committee demonstrated a generally better… Continue Reading

Latest update to Privacy Badger brings a new onboarding process and other improvements

“The new onboarding process will make Privacy Badger easier to use and understand. These latest changes are just some of the many improvements EFF has made to the project, with more to come! Privacy Badger was created with the objective of protecting users from third-party tracking across the web—all users. To do this, Privacy Badger… Continue Reading

5 facts about Americans and Facebook

“Facebook is in the national spotlight this week as its co-founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, testifies before Congress. Zuckerberg is expected to face questions from lawmakers over the company’s recent disclosure that data on up to 87 million of its users may have been improperly shared with a political consulting firm during the 2016… Continue Reading

Variety – Facebook Under Fire: How Privacy Crisis Could Change Big Data Forever

Variety: “…The scandal in a nutshell: Cambridge Analytica, a U.K.-based political data analytics firm, illicitly procured the data of 50 million Facebook users — without their knowledge or consent — and then enlisted that to inform voter-targeting strategies for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. It wasn’t a hack per se. But both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica… Continue Reading

More insights into Facebook debacle surface

Vanity Fair – “Each time a fresh scandal plays out at Facebook, the company positions itself as playing catch-up. Apparently alarmed and dismayed at the ready spread of fake news on its platform, Facebook de-emphasized posts from media companies. Faced with a decline in user trust, Facebook admitted it might be inherently damaging to democracy.… Continue Reading

Are you ready? This is all the data Facebook and Google have on you

The Guardian – Dylan Curran – “The harvesting of our personal details goes far beyond what many of us could imagine. So I braced myself and had a look..Want to freak yourself out? I’m going to show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even… Continue Reading

FB says – It’s Time to Make Our Privacy Tools Easier to Find – ya think!

Facebook News: “Last week showed how much more work we need to do to enforce our policies and help people understand how Facebook works and the choices they have over their data. We’ve heard loud and clear that privacy settings and other important tools are too hard to find and that we must do more… Continue Reading

How Amazon Helped Cambridge Analytica Harvest Americans’ Facebook Data

In yet another development in the unfolding saga of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica’s activities – the following via Fast Company: How Amazon Helped Cambridge Analytica Harvest Americans’ Facebook Data“Facebook has been rocked by reports of a massive data scrape carried out by Cambridge Analytica and one of its then-contractors, a Cambridge University academic named Aleksandr… Continue Reading