Feeds

Facebook games maker sued in privacy flap

Zynga allegedly sent IDs for 218 million users

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A developer of some of Facebook's most popular games has been hit by a federal lawsuit alleging it shared millions of Facebook user IDs with advertisers and data brokers.

The lawsuit alleges that Zynga, maker of six of the top 10 Facebook games, collected and shared the IDs of 218 million users, in violation of federal law and terms of service. It seeks unspecified monetary damages and an injunction preventing the alleged practice from continuing. The suit was filed in US District Court in San Francisco on behalf of Nancy Graf of St. Paul, Minnesota. It seeks class action status so other Facebook users may also be represented.

The action follows an investigation by The Wall Street Journal that found that a large number of Facebook apps, including all of the top 10, transmitted the unique user IDs of those who ran them to outside companies. Zynga – maker of games such as Farmville, Mafia Wars, and Cafe World – was found to be “transmitting personal information about a user's friends to outside companies,” the paper reported.

It remains debatable just how damaging the practice is to user privacy. Both Facebook and Zynga have long pledged not to share personally identifiable information with third parties, so the transmittal of a unique user ID would appear to violate that policy. Then again, it's unclear how much information can be gleaned from IDs for users who have set all of their account information to be private.

Zynga representatives have said the lawsuit is without merit and the company plans to defend itself vigorously.

The investigation caught the attention of US Representatives Edward Markey and Joe Barton, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, who on Monday wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a letter (PDF) grilling him on the practice.

“Given the number of current users, the rate at which that number grows worldwide, and the age range of Facebook users, combined with the amount and the nature of information these users place in Facebook’s trust, this series of breaches of consumer privacy is cause for concern,” they wrote. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
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.