Thursday, October 27, 2011
Facebook-Tapping: Facebook sued for watching you once you sign-out.
Photo courtesy of Alan Cleaver on Flickr
It seems like Facebook maybe tapping our computers without us knowing. Recently, a lawsuit was filed against the social networking site claiming that they monitor their users after they log out. The lawsuit seeks class action status and is requesting that the court block the tracking of users based on violations of federal wiretapping laws, computer fraud, and abuse fraud. With Facebook already facing privacy concerns over their new features such as “Timeline,” this could be one of many lawsuits the social-networking powerhouse faces in the near future.
The issue arose after an Australian blogger conducted tests on Facebook’s cookies. He discovered that when users logged out of Facebook the site did not delete their “tracking cookies” but modified them so they were allowed to continue monitoring users. With this allegation, Facebook admitted that that cookies were used to track users even after they logged out. Just recently, Facebook has informed users that any cookies that were installed on user computers that track their Facebook interaction and websites have been removed.
Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, users may feel a sense of concern over whether they will continue to be watched by Facebook. The federal wiretapping laws are set in place to prevent such monitoring without explicit authorization by a judge. However, there is already a sentiment building that the more power Facebook has over the social networking realm, the more likely they will continue to expose their users for financial and transactional purposes. With many users not technology savvy, Facebook has enough computer geniuses to figure out another way to monitor users without being detected. In the end, depending on what further information comes out of the lawsuit, if Facebook can’t continue to ensure a user’s privacy, then users may turn to emerging sites like Google+ to get their social networking fix.
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