Feeds

German group urges boycott over Facebook privacy shake-up

This ain't no nudist beach

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Whistling Google: PLEASE! Brussels can only hurt Europe, not us
And Commish is VERY pro-Google. Why should we worry?
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.