EFF in the News
Facebook's half-billion users have entrusted it with an enormous responsibility. As Facebook says in its own "Principles" document, "People should have the freedom to decide with whom they will share their information, and to set privacy controls to protect those choices."
Here at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, we've gone a step further by creating a social networking Users' Bill of Privacy Rights.
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) spokesperson Rebecca Jeschke said Facebook is hard to quit for many users.
“People are in a spot here,” she said. “Facebook is trying to exploit them. Users should continue to put pressure on Facebook to be careful with their information.”
Startpage provides secure SSL encryption and offers a proxy service that allows users to anonymously visit the sites they find through the Startpage search engine. Startpage has been widely praised by the privacy community, receiving kudos from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, privacy regulators in Europe, and Internet users worldwide.
The EFF has the better argument. The most important priority should be ensuring that a government doesn't get its hands on users' communications, even if that makes it harder to hold Google accountable for having collected the data.
Mozilla has been a vocal critic of Apple's ban of rival browsers. Last year, the company backed a request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that would allow iPhone owners to "jailbreak" their phones without fear of copyright infringement penalties.
But that's Google's problem, not the government's according to Granick. "I think they do have to make a structural change," she says. "They're in the business of collecting and monetizing people's data. They need to make people feel comfortable."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation says the privacy improvements are "a positive step" but "there's still more work to be done."
The EFF has sound advice for people who want to maintain tight control over their privacy on Facebook. Facebook's recommended privacy settings would share "a substantial amount" of information with everyone, says the EFF.
In a blog post, the civil liberties group praised Facebook for a "great first step" towards giving members of the site more control over their data.
However, it warned members against choosing the site's recommended privacy control setting.
Mr. KEVIN BANKSTON (Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation): They are becoming more responsive to privacy concerns, but I think their basic philosophy of what the future of Facebook and the Internet should be has not changed. And so we are going to have to be watchful.
Peter Eckersley, senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said Facebook has taken important first steps to improve its privacy practices...
"Over the years, Facebook has had a history of gradually degrading privacy standards. It's time to see if the company can now make a sustained commitment to doing things better," he said.