A Mississippi woman has sued Facebook for violating her online privacy and tracking her browsing history without consent. This is not the first lawsuit of its kind, as others from Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana have ongoing lawsuits as well. Facebook has made it clear that they intend to fight this lawsuit, stating to ABC News, “We believe this complaint is without merit and we will fight it vigorously.”
This court case comes just weeks after Facebook implemented their new “frictionless sharing” plan that includes a timeline and ticker at the right side of the page. Although these tools are designed to build a whole new platform on Facebook that allows users to see what types of movies, music and news articles their friends are into, many are hesitant about the embarrassment it could cause. After all, do you really want your Facebook friends knowing everything you do online?
It is this very concept that the Mississippi woman is fighting for, as she claims that Facebook tracked her activity through cookies even when she wasn’t logged into the site. Facebook denies these accusations, although they do admit to unintentionally tracking users in the past, but claim this was fixed prior to the suing. Furthermore, the tracking that was conducted was done so inadvertently, so none of the information was stored.
Indeed, the Mississippi woman, as well as others, is not so quick to accept this response. It should be assumed that a user is safe from being tracked when not logged into Facebook and that any tracking should be done with the user’s consent. But as we know in many other contexts like Google, it’s the very secretive tracking methods that have been most utilized by online advertising and websites.
It’s difficult to say how far the case will get in court, but up until September 23, 2011, Facebook did indeed track, collect and store their users’ wire or electronic communication. We can only hope that Facebook is listening to their users and affording more control over the collection and storage of personal information. In the meantime, Facebook encourages users to try the new open platform that allows friends to connect with each other based on hobbies and interests.
Source: ABC News
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