San Francisco – Despite Facebook’s recent efforts to improve
and clarify its privacy policies, the ACLU of Northern California, the
Electronic Frontier Foundation and eight other privacy groups have published an
open letter to the social network, outlining six additional steps the company
should take to give users more control over their personal data. The groups ask
Facebook to allow users to decide which applications can access their personal
data; make "instant personalization" an opt-in service; and use HTTPS
connections for all interactions by default, among other steps.
continues to push its users into more and more public sharing — sharing that
it’s not at all clear members want or fully understand," said EFF senior
staff attorney Kevin Bankston.
"We’re calling on Facebook and Mark
Zuckerberg to respect their members and give them the information and the tools
they need for true control."
Facebook has published a point-by-point
response to the open letter, noting, among other things, that it plans to
launch a new data permission model in coming weeks for applications, and is
currently testing SSL access to Facebook and hopes to provide it as an option
in coming months.
The other privacy groups that were party to the open letter
to Facebook included the Center for Democracy and Technology, Center for Digital
Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Watchdog, Electronic Privacy Information
Center, Privacy Activism, Privacy Lives, and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
(PDF: open letter)