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Dear Facebook: your privacy sucks

Security not much chop either, says Sophos

Website security in corporate America

Sick of having its users ask what’s wrong with Facebook privacy, security vendor Sophos has taken its concerns public in this open letter.

It may well be restating things that intelligent and informed users could already have worked out for themselves, but Sophos’ complaint adds to public concerns raised by credible sources.

Sophos’ letter suggests Facebook adopt three basic principles in its handling of user information: decent default privacy, vetting of application developers, and HTTPS not as an option, but as a default for all access*.

When adding new information-sharing features, Sophos says, the popular social site should not assume that users want these features defaulting to “on”.

As to application developers, Sophos is harsher in its terminology. Because it has more than a million un-vetted application developers, the letter calls the Facebook apps market “riddled with rogue applications and viral scams”.

Sophos ends with a call to action, asking Facebook when it plans to act – or if, perhaps, it intends to leave action until its hand is forced by regulators. Perhaps optimistically, Sophos seems to think that Facebook might recognize a “greater good” that isn’t its own. ®

*Mind you, Sophos didn't think to put its own open letter on an HTTPS connection. The open letter says HTTPS should be enforced "all the time, by default". ®

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