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Facebook stands up to privacy coalition

Facebook has insisted it is doing enough to protect users' privacy in response to an open letter from a coalition of privacy groups calling for more action.

The coalition includes the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Watchdog, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Privacy Activism, Privacy Lives, and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

The social networking site reminded the coalition that just last month Facebook had simplified controls for sharing information, according to US reports.

Facebook announced the simplified privacy controls in response to a growing storm of criticism, consolidated all controls into a single page where users can choose whether all content can be viewed by friends, friends of friends, or everyone.

But the privacy groups want more controls and specifically want Facebook to make its instant personalisation feature an opt-in service and to use a secure internet protocol (https) by default.

Facebook has rejected an opt-in approach, and in its rebuttal, lists the company's steps in making it easier for users to hide information from all third-party applications and websites.

The coalition's letter is the latest in a series of increasingly heated exchanges between Facebook and privacy groups concerned that the default settings are aimed at encouraging the social network's users to share personal information widely.

In May, 15 privacy groups filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission and sent a letter to the US Congress claiming Facebook's trade practices had violated consumer protection laws.

Congress has begun an investigation into the privacy protections on Facebook and other social networks to determine whether more government regulation is necessary.


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