Belgian regulators have ordered Facebook to stop tracking people who have logged out of the service—and those who never signed up in the first place.
The Guardian's Samuel Gibbs reports on the local regulators' demands, which come in the wake of a report that said the internet giant "has shown itself particularly miserly in giving precise answers" to its questions about exactly what it does to spy on web users.
According to a report commissioned by the Belgian data protection agency Facebook has been tracking users on a long-term basis who visit any page – be it a fan page, profile or any other portion of the site that does not require a Facebook account to visit – belonging to the Facebook.com domain. The opinion published on Friday noted that because Facebook has the power to link internet users’ browsing habits to their real identity, social network interactions and sensitive data including medical information, religious, sexual and political preferences, it is in a unique position compared to most of the other cases of so-called “third-party tracking”.
Facebook can keep an eye on the web in general thanks to the omnipresent "like" and "share" buttons added to websites, which provide Facebook with a snapshot of technical information concerning those to whom the buttons are served. Even if it's just an IP address and browser environment basics—the proverbial non-Facebook visitor—this metadata could conceivably be cross-referenced with other sources of information to build a picture of internet users' behavior and preferences.
"There is nothing more important to us than the privacy of our users," Facebook told The Guardian, in response to earlier coverage of its troubles with the EU, which has already found that Facebook tracks users without consent.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
While some people still maintain that everything in Apple’s walled garden “just works” and is immune to the rampant malware of the Windows world, the reality is different. The Mac’s growing market share has made it a much more viable target for malicious actors, and its built-in tools aren’t always enough to fix things. Drive […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]