Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Facebook Security Issues

"More Questions for Facebook"
Wall Street Journal (10/18/10) Fowler, Geoffrey A.

U.S. Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) have sent a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg asking him to provide information about the latest security breach at the social networking site. The breach consisted of third-party applications gathering and transmitting personally identifiable information about Facebook users and their friends--including identification numbers, which can be used to look up a user's real name and find other information users have made public--to advertising and Internet tracking companies. The letter asks Zuckerberg to disclose how many users had been affected by the breach, when Facebook became aware of the problem, and what steps the social networking site plans to take to deal with the privacy issue. A Facebook spokesman said that the company wants to work with Markey and Barton in order to address any confusion surrounding the incident, but said that passing a user ID to an application may not constitute a "breach." Meanwhile, Facebook executive Mike Vernal acknowledged that user IDs were passed on to advertising and Internet companies inadvertently in violation of the company's policies. He added that while knowing a user's ID does not allow anyone to access a user's private information, Facebook is taking steps to ensure that applications comply with its privacy policy and to prevent even the inadvertent passing of user IDs to third parties.

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