In 2009, EPIC, a privacy group, filed a privacy complaint about Facebook with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This prompted the FTC to announce last month an agreement where Facebook must create a comprehensive privacy program, delete content after termination of a user account, and do comprehensive privacy audits every two years. If Facebook fails to comply, it faces millions of dollars in fines.
Unfortunately, after obtaining privacy sanctions against Facebook, EPIC announced today that it considered the agreement a “FAIL” and launched a campaign to demand additional sanctions on Facebook.
I visited EPIC’s site to learn more about their new demands. EPIC demands the FTC to “prevent Facebook from secretly tracking users across the web.” That sounds scary, but EPIC never explains what it means by “secret tracking.” I found only one reference to tracking, secret or otherwise, buried in a 2010 EPIC complaint about Facebook’s cookies. So I can only assume that by “secret tracking” EPIC means Facebook reading their cookies when users visit other sites. But it wasn’t until I thought more about these Facebook cookies that I realized why EPIC hid their explanation of “secret tracking.”