The social networking site RockYou has agreed to settle FTC charges that its security flaws allowed hackers to access the personal information of 32 million users. The FTC complaint also alleges that the company collected info from more than 100,000 kids in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). RockYou will pay a $250,000 civil penalty for the alleged COPPA violations.
Yesterday, we featured the FTC’s newly released privacy report, which outlines a framework for protecting privacy in the 21st Century. Among other recommendations, the report strongly supports Do Not Track, a mechanism that would allow you to choose what information is collected about your online activities and how it’s used.
In today’s world of smart phones, smart grids, and smart cars, companies are collecting, storing, and sharing more and more information about you. In fact, as illustrated by the FTC’s new video, you might not realize just how often companies do so.
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
When it comes to privacy promises, what businesses say about the personal information they collect from you has to line up with their day-to-day procedures. That’s the message of the FTC’s proposed settlement announced today with Facebook. Where did the company go wrong? The agency’s 8-count complaint boils down to this: Facebook’s privacy practices often flew in the face of its stated policies and, as one count alleges, the company made significant retroactive changes to its privacy practices, without getting users’ consent.
Chairman Jon Leibowitz today gave the keynote speech at an online privacy event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. He explained that the overall common privacy goal is to protect consumer privacy while ensuring a cyberspace that generates the free content we have all come to expect and enjoy. Chairman Leibowitz likened the paparazzi, who expose private moments, to invisible online data collection practices, which he called “cyberazzi.” He also highlighted FTC staff’s proposed framework for safeguarding consumers’ personal data and recent FTC privacy enforcement actions.
What would you think of millions of people having the ability to download the pictures and videos on your smartphone, or copy documents from your tablet computer, without your even realizing it?
If that sounds like a problem, you might want to take a look at the FTC’s just-announced settlement with a peer-to-peer (or P2P) file-sharing software developer. The company, Frostwire, offers free P2P file-sharing applications for Android devices and desktop and laptop computers.