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Congress looks into Facebook privacy breach

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(Robert Galbraith/Reuters)

After Sunday's news that an online glitch led to a major leak of Facebook user IDs, U.S. Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), co-chairmans of the House Bipartisan Privacy Caucus, sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

"Given the number of current users, the rate at which that number grows worldwide, and the age range of Facebook users, combined with the amount and the nature of information these users place in Facebook's trust, this series of breaches of consumer privacy is a cause for concern," the representatives wrote.

While it seems responsible for the Privacy Caucus to investigate a privacy breach, is the Facebook breach really worth the excitement?

TechCrunch.com says no: "The big deal is that most people in tech, let alone the general population, have no idea what the [original] article is even about."

In an blogpost entitled, "Fear and Loathing at the Wall Street Journal," the online technology site sees the whole fears over the privacy breech as much ado about nothing.

If you do stuff online, people are tracking it and putting it into a database and trying to sell you stuff based on that. There's not much you can do about it except not be online. And it's not all that bad, really, to get ads for diapers when you're having a baby, or ads for cars when you are looking to buy a car. Life will go on.

The Post's Rob Pegoraro had a similar take on the situation.

Remember the fundamental bargain of any social network: You're trading some of your information for the ability to communicate easily with friends. As one commentary wisely put it: "If you think that social media exists for charitable reasons, think again."

By Melissa Bell  | October 19, 2010; 9:36 AM ET
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Comments

Greater access by the government to electronic communications will stop illegal financial transactions and fraud. Terrorism concerns are secondary, Madoff would have been stopped and his victims protected if his phone was bugged. People should not have to worry about dirty talk to their mistress being wiretapped
by horny agents.

Posted by: morristhewise | October 19, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Come on, Melissa.
Really now: "co-chairmans"?

What happened to "co-chairmen" or the gender-neutral "co-chairs"?

Not to mention "privacy breech" -- which you got correct in the title.

I thought everyone used spell checkers and grammar checkers nowadays. Though they should not be necessary.

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | October 19, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

And the privacy settings issue goes on and on. This doesnt seem like it will end anytime soon. Why don't people just move on from Facebook and look at all the better alternatives on the web? The guys at Diaspora and Mycube really seem to be making the right noises about complete privacy and control.

Posted by: clarkwalker | October 20, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

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