The Circuit: FTC privacy report, Facebook passwords, Google autocorrect

March 26, 2012

FTC privacy: The Federal Trade Commission on Monday outlined a framework for how companies should address consumer privacy, pledging that consumers will have “an easy to use and effective” “Do Not Track” option by the end of the year.

The FTC’s report comes a little over a month after the White House released a “privacy bill of rights” that called on companies to be more transparent about privacy and grant consumers greater access to their data but that stopped short of backing a do not track rule.

The FTC said it will work with the White House and industry to create a do not track mechanism.

Senators call for investigation into Facebook password trend: Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced Sunday that they have asked the Justice Department to look into whether employers are violating federal law when they ask prospective employees to provide their Facebook passwords.

The senators said they will send letters to Attorney General Eric Holder and the head of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asking the agencies to investigate whether the practice violates the Stored Communications Act or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Japanese court weighs in on Google autocorrect: A Japanese court has asked Google to disable its auto-complete features after a man petitioned the court claiming that the features was damaging to his reputation. According to a report in The Japan Times, a man — who has not been named — said that Google’s auto-complete feature turned up search results that associated his name with “criminal acts.”

The man discovered the association after losing his job suddenly and being turned down for subsequent positions.

Yahoo names three new directors: Yahoo announced Sunday that it had named three new members for its board of directors, but had not selected any candidates suggested by activist shareholder Third Point and its chief executive Daniel Loeb.

Yahoo selected John D. Hayes, an executive at American Express Company with digital marketing expertise; Peter Liguori, a former executive at Discovery Communications and former chairman and president of Entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Network; and Thomas J. McInerney, who recently completed a stint as chief financial officer of IAC/InterActiveCorp, The Washington Post reported.

Microsoft, Feds tackle botnet: Microsoft worked with the U.S. Marshals to take down a botnet that used the Zeus family of malware, the company announced on Sunday. The raid was part of a civil suit Microsoft brought against various “John Does.”

“[After] a months-long investigation, successful pleading before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and a coordinated seizure of command and control servers in Scranton, Penn. and Lombard, Ill.,” wrote Richard Domingues Boscovich, Microsoft’s Senior Attorney for its Digital Crimes Unit. “[Some] of the worst known Zeus botnets were disrupted by Microsoft and our partners worldwide.”

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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