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Bloomberg reports that Facebook is being sued “by users of the site seeking class-action status over claims that the company secretly tracks their Web activity after they log off.

“The company assures users that ‘cookie’ files installed on their computers to identify them and track their interactions with Facebook applications and websites while they are logged on are removed when they log off, according to a complaint in federal court in San Jose, California. Facebook admitted on Sept. 26 that the cookies track users’ Internet activity after they log off, according to today’s complaint.”

According to the story, The Electronic Privacy Information Center and nine other groups are urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “to examine whether Facebook’s new Ticker and Timeline features increase privacy risks for users by combining biographical information in an easily accessible format.”
KC's View:
Expect privacy issues to get a lot more attention in coming months. The Los Angeles Times had a long piece over the weekend about how all the gadgets we use every day - computers, smartphones, TV systems - also are tracking our movements and behavior.

The Times wrote, “Few parts of our private lives remain shielded from digital observation. The modern home, stocked with networked devices, has become a digital transmission station, endlessly relaying data to a wide array of for-profit companies that are largely invisible to the average parent and child.

“This explosion in the amount of data being collected has raised alarms in state capitols and in Washington, where lawmakers of both parties have proposed more than a dozen pieces of privacy legislation this year.”

And, the Times went on: “Regulatory efforts are drawing resistance from companies such as Google Inc. and Facebook that rely on personal information to sell advertising, and so far, none of the bills has passed. Privacy observers say it may be years before legal protections catch up to industry practices.

“In the meantime, as more people become aware of the extent to which their actions are being recorded, some privacy advocates worry that people will begin to censor themselves when using technology and avoid going places or seeking information that others might find objectionable.”