The Switchboard: Facebook only added ‘research’ to its service agreement after its controversial study


(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Published every weekday, the Switchboard highlights five tech policy stories you need to read.

U.S. National Archives to upload all holdings to Wikimedia Commons. "These uploads range from mundane federal agency records to World War II photos and presidential portraits," according to Techcrunch. "James Hare, president of the Wikimedia D.C. Chapter, said several Wikipedia volunteers have been working with the [National Archives] on this project to digitize their collections."

U.S. officials disclose data on ‘backdoor’ searches of Americans’ phone calls, e-mails. "The FBI conducts a 'substantial' number of warrantless queries for Americans’ e-mails and phone calls in a special database of intercepted communications," reports The Post's own Ellen Nakashima, "but it does not track exactly how often, an intelligence official said in a letter released Monday."

Facebook added 'research' to user agreement 4 months after emotion manipulation study. "In January 2012, the policy did not say anything about users potentially being guinea pigs made to have a crappy day for science, nor that 'research' is something that might happen on the platform," according to Forbes. "Four months after this study happened, in May 2012, Facebook made changes to its data use policy, and that’s when it introduced this line about how it might use your information: 'For internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.'" (For more, read my defense of Facebook's study.)

Bitcoin price jumps 6 percent as U.S. Marshals’ auction comes to a close. "The price paid for the coins, as well as the winning bidders, is still unknown," according to Gigaom. "A spokesperson for the Marshals Office said that it would not be releasing any details of the auction today and remained vague about what and when it would say in the future."

Google launches 'cookie choices' site to let Europeans know how they're being tracked. "Google has launched a new site, CookieChoices.org, to help visitors of European sites learn more about the digital breadcrumbs they leave behind through cookies," reports Computerworld.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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Brian Fung | June 30