Inside these posts: Internet privacy

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Google to toughen privacy policy, undergo audits

Google Inc. has agreed to implement a comprehensive privacy policy and undergo 20 years of independent audits as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in connection with charges that it used deceptive tactics and violated promises to customers when launching its Buzz social network last year. Get the full story »

Conn. won’t seek data in Google privacy probe

Connecticut’s attorney general said Friday that Google Inc.  won’t have to hand over user data it collected from unsecured wireless networks as part of his office’s probe of the Internet giant’s privacy snafu.

Atty. Gen. George Jepsen said his office reached a deal with the Internet company that allows him to begin settlement negotiations over whether Google violated state law. Get the full story »

Facebook acts to make users’ data more secure

Facebook says it has disabled a feature that let users share their address and phone number with external Web sites and applications after criticism from security experts.

Facebook said in a blog post Tuesday that it is changing the feature to ensure that users share information only when they want to. Users, for example, could share their address with applications such as shopping Web sites for easier access. Get the full story »

Facebook to provide access to users’ data

Facebook has quietly opened the door for app developers to request a user’s addresses and phone numbers.

The most popular social media site in the world announced the move on its Facebook Developer blog, in a post Friday night by developer liaison Jeff Bowen.

So far, Facebook has failed to mention the change on its general announcement blog for users or any other network-wide methods. The company has dealt with privacy concerns for years, with a focus of criticism being third-party app makers’ access to user data.

For Facebook users, this means address and phone numbers listed in their profile will be given to a developer who requests such information by way of the “Request for Permission” dialog box that pops up when a user begins the process of adding an application to their profile.

Apple sued over privacy of iPhone, iPad apps

Bloomberg News | Apple Inc. has been sued over claims that some of its iPhone and iPad apps, including Pandora and, transmit users’ personal information to advertisers.

Agency calls for online privacy bill of rights

The Commerce Department is calling for the creation of a “privacy bill of rights” for Internet users to set ground rules for companies that collect consumer data online and use that information for marketing and other purposes.

The proposal, outlined in a Commerce Department report Thursday, is intended to address growing unease about the vast amounts of personal information that companies are scooping up on the Net — from Web browsing habits to smart phone locations to Facebook preferences. That data is often mined to target advertising. Get the full story »

Microsoft plans ‘do not track’ feature in browser

Microsoft plans to introduce a new “tracking protection” feature in the next version of its Internet Explorer browser, which will let users filter out sites they don’t want to share information with. Get the full story »

Marketers behind health sites, privacy groups warn

Web sites offering a sense of community to people with diseases or ailments often are created by marketers who fail to disclose that they are sharing data about the users, a complaint filed with U.S. regulators charged on Tuesday.

Four pro-privacy groups filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, detailing a number of techniques marketers use to identify potential purchasers of particular medications. Get the full story »

White House to push for tech policy action in 2011

The Obama administration on will push Congress next year to move ahead on critical technology policies, the White House’s technology chief said on Thursday. Get the full story »

FCC confirms privacy probe of Google Street View

The Federal Communications Commission is investigating whether Google Inc. broke federal laws when its street-mapping service collected consumers’ personal information, joining a lengthy list of regulators probing what Google says was inadvertent harvesting of private data sent over wireless networks.

The FCC opened its investigation this year, an FCC official confirmed Wednesday. An FCC spokeswoman didn’t immediately have comment on the agency’s investigation. The FCC generally doesn’t publicly disclose details of its investigations. Get the full story »

Google to rein in employees on privacy matters

Google is promising to monitor its employees more closely to make sure they don’t intrude on people’s privacy while the company collects and stores information about its users.

The tougher privacy measures announced Friday appear to be in reaction to recent breaches that have raised questions about the Internet search leader’s internal controls and policies. Get the full story »