Last week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued two separate rulings regarding privacy issues on the Internet, one against Facebook and the other against Google. Google was handed a record setting $22.5 million dollar penalty for bypassing the Safari browser’s default privacy settings. Facebook and th FTC reached a settlement regarding allegations that it violated its own privacy policies.
The FTC complaint against Google stemmed from the company’s use of third party cookies for advertising. Google used a backdoor in its code to place third party cookies on the browsers of Apple’s Safari users allowing them to track the browsing habits of the users without their consent. Third party cookies are blocked under the default privacy settings on Safari, the only browser to do this under default settings. Google disabled the code after a Wall Street Journal article publicized the practice. Safari users make up more than 50% of mobile browsing and about 6% of desktop browsing.
Bloggers are high-frequency users of both of these tools and with Facebook third-party apps, so we have a heightened interest in their security issues. Did you invest in any Facebook stock? If so you might also have a heightened interest in recent events. Stock prices fell below $20/share when the gate was lifted for major investors to sell for the first time.