Risk
5/26/2010
04:07 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Facebook Promises Less Public Information, More Control

To quell the complaints of critics, Facebook has reworked its privacy controls to make them easier to understand.

In the wake of rising doubt about Facebook's commitment to privacy, the social networking site said on Wednesday that it plans to roll out simplified privacy controls designed to offer users more control over the information they share.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the changes at a press conference. "It's been a pretty intense few weeks for us," he conceded as he described how the company had gathered a term of engineers together to address a problem that has attracted the attention government regulators in the U.S. and Europe.

Zuckerberg suggested that Facebook's recent actions had been misperceived and stressed that the company remains committed to giving users control over their information.

"The number one thing we've heard is through all these changes [is that] the settings have gotten complex and it has become hard for people to use them," he said.

Facebook's simplified privacy controls offer users one menu with three settings that determine who can see shared content: friends, friends of friends, and everyone.

This meta-setting will apply to all content shared by the user: past, present, and future.

The company's more granular controls will still be available to users who wish to use them.

Facebook is also reducing the amount of information visible through connections by giving users control over who can see their friends and pages. Facebook profiles will soon show only the user's name, profile picture (if one has been uploaded), gender (optional), and networks (if any).

The company has added a way to opt-out of the Facebook Platform completely, so users don't have to worry about their information being shared with third-party application providers.

Leslie Harris, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a group that has supported greater privacy on Facebook, offered cautious support for the new controls.

"Facebook's users have spoken and made it clear that they want control of their information," she said in a statement. "Despite all rumors to the contrary, privacy is not dead, it is on its way to a comeback in the form of simplified controls and better policies. While more work still needs to be done, these changes are the building blocks for giving people what they want and deserve."

Josh Abraham, a security researcher with Rapid7, said it was too early to tell whether the changes would be effective in protecting users and suggested that lack of privacy is the cost of using such services.

"Web sites like Facebook and Google make money off ads and data mining their users," he said. "All those services may not cost anything, but you give up your privacy to use them."

Or as Zuckerberg put it, "We believe that people come into this wanting to share and stay connected."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-6117
Published: 2014-07-11
Dahua DVR 2.608.0000.0 and 2.608.GV00.0 allows remote attackers to bypass authentication and obtain sensitive information including user credentials, change user passwords, clear log files, and perform other actions via a request to TCP port 37777.

CVE-2014-0174
Published: 2014-07-11
Cumin (aka MRG Management Console), as used in Red Hat Enterprise MRG 2.5, does not include the HTTPOnly flag in a Set-Cookie header for the session cookie, which makes it easier for remote attackers to obtain potentially sensitive information via script access to this cookie.

CVE-2014-3485
Published: 2014-07-11
The REST API in the ovirt-engine in oVirt, as used in Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (rhevm) 3.4, allows remote authenticated users to read arbitrary files and have other unspecified impact via unknown vectors, related to an XML External Entity (XXE) issue.

CVE-2014-3499
Published: 2014-07-11
Docker 1.0.0 uses world-readable and world-writable permissions on the management socket, which allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-3503
Published: 2014-07-11
Apache Syncope 1.1.x before 1.1.8 uses weak random values to generate passwords, which makes it easier for remote attackers to guess the password via a brute force attack.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Marilyn Cohodas and her guests look at the evolving nature of the relationship between CIO and CSO.