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Friday, December 18, 2009
Privacy Groups File Complaint on Facebook to FTC

Ten privacy organizations filed a complaint against Facebook to the Federal Trade Commission Thursday, arguing that recent changes to the social-networking company's privacy policies and settings violate federal laws.

The complaint, spearheaded by the Electronic Privacy Information Center ( EPIC), was triggered by changes Facebook made to its privacy policies and settings in November and December.

The EPIC complaint urges the Trade Commission to open an investigation into the recent changes made by Facebook to the privacy settings of Facebook users and to require Facebook to restore privacy safeguards.

"This is themost significant case now before the Federal Trade Commission," said Marc Rotenberg, EPIC Executive Director. ?More than 100 million People In The United States subscribe to the Facebook service. The company should not be allowed to turn down the privacy dial on so many American consumers."

On November 19 and December 9, Facebook changed key privacy settings and required Facebook users to go through a "transition tool" before they could obtain access to their accounts.

According to the EPIC complaint, far more user information became publicly available as result of this change. EPIC also said that more personal information will become available to third party application developers as a result of the changes to the privacy settings.

The EPIC complaint cites widespread opposition to the changes by Facebook users, news organizations, bloggers, and security experts.

Among the organizations supporting the EPIC complaint are the American Library Association, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Consumer Federation of America, FoolProof Financial Education, Patient Privacy Rights, Privacy Activism, the Privacy Rights Now Coalition, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and the U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation.

The EPIC is a public interest research center based in Washington, DC. EPIC Focuses public attention on emerging privacy and civil liberties issues.

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