Feeds

German group urges boycott over Facebook privacy shake-up

This ain't no nudist beach

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A German consumer group is urging surfers to ditch Facebook in protest over proposed privacy changes, AFP reports.

The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBZ) wants users to abandon Facebook for other social networks in order to pressure Zuckerberg's baby into reconsidering a controversial data sharing plan.

VZBZ wants a proposed scheme involving the sharing of Facebook users' personal information with "pre-approved" third-party websites to be opt-in only, AFP reports. At present users would be obliged to opt out if they objected.

If the revised privacy policy goes through, surfers may find that when they visit external websites it already knows their name, date of birth, who their friends are and other data they share with everyone on Facebook. The information will be shared without users' explicit permission.

Facebook is no stranger to privacy controversies. Previous revisions of its privacy policy pushed users towards sharing personal data and photos with everyone by default. Its Beacon ad network plans were also controversial.

The latest privacy shakeup is a step too far for VZBZ and for Ilse Aigner, consumer affairs minister, who earlier this week threatened to delete her Facebook account in protest at the social network's plans.

Germany is sensitive about privacy invasion for historical reasons, but concerns over the proposed privacy revisions are far from restricted to the country. An online survey by net security firm Sophos discovered that an overwhelming 95 per cent were opposed to the proposed changes.

Facebook's spin doctors sought to allay concerns about the proposals by saying the sharing will only happen with a small number of carefully selected third-party websites.

Some security experts are unconvinced by these assurances. A blog posting analysing Facebook's privacy policy by Sophos analyst Chester Wisniewski, for example, explains how Facebook's approach to privacy lacks the clarity of LinkedIn's policy.

He points out that Facebook has responded less quickly to privacy criticisms than the managers of Google Buzz, who quickly ditched the unloved contacts-exposing feature when its release was met with an outcry. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.