FTC Settles Facebook Privacy Issue

November 29, 2011

The Federal Trade Commission has announced a settlement with Facebook after an investigation of its privacy practices. As part of the agreement, Facebook has agreed to various privacy measures and annual privacy audits for 20 years.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association recognizes the need for information and choice when it comes to online privacy practices. The following statement can be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association President & CEO Ed Black:

“To have an open online culture people need to know how information will be used so they can decide what information to share and with whom. We appreciate the FTC’s willingness to examine online privacy practices and to work with companies toward solutions that protect privacy while maintaining the ability to innovate in the social media arena.

“This settlement adds to Facebook’s history of responding to privacy concerns and developing ways to give users more control over the data they choose to share. Today’s settlement shows that private companies and regulators can work together to protect both consumers and innovation.”

“Regardless of the merits of this latest settlement, we have some concern that the 20 year oversight provisions seem to be becoming the norm. This may be unnecessarily long when dealing with dynamic companies that have competitive reasons to be responsive to the privacy demands of their customers. If more extensive regulation of the Internet privacy world is the intent, we would hope to get there through a transparent process rather than a series of potentially ever expanding consent decrees.

“CCIA recognizes that finding the right balance that protects privacy while allowing innovation to flourish in rapidly evolving industries will likely remain an ongoing challenge for years.”

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