A backdoor in MySpace’s architecture allows anyone who’s interested to see the photographs of some users with private profiles — including those under 16 — despite assurances from MySpace that those pictures can only be seen by people on a user’s friends list. Info about the backdoor has been circulating on message boards for months.Since the glitch emerged last fall, it has spawned a cottage industry of ad-supported websites that make it easy to access the photographs, spurring self-described pedophiles and run-of-the-mill voyeurs to post photos pilfered from private MySpace accounts.The bug, and its long-term survival, raises new questions about privacy on the News Corp.-owned site, even as it touts a deal with the attorneys general of 49 states meant to polish its online-safety images. http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2008/01/myspace
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Forbes: The Privacy Paradox

February 15, 2008

How much do you value your online privacy? Are you willing to trade your personal data for privacy? Many, including search engines, confused by the complex Web surfers’ attitude toward privacy online.

“Consumers express a lot of concern about their privacy online in surveys. At the same time, very few engage in privacy-protecting activities,” says Leslie Harris, executive director of the privacy advocacy group Center for Democracy and Technology. “There’s a real inconsistency.”

A Pew Internet Study from 2005 showed that 54% believe that Web sites that track their behavior invade their privacy. But the same study showed that 64% would give up personal information to get access to a Web site.

http://www.forbes.com/home/security/2008/02/15/search-privacy-ask-tech-security-cx_ag_0215search.html

Chris Kelly describes and defends the user-tracking Beacon function, handling sexual predators online, and balancing privacy and community. The launch of Facebook‘s Beacon advertising system in November put the social networking and site in the middle of a controversy over privacy, as Beacon was criticized for being too aggressive and stealthy in collecting and broadcasting information about users’ activities online. For that reason, few people right now would probably envy the job of Chris Kelly, Facebook’s chief privacy officer and the person most responsible for explaining the site’s policies to the public.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,142324-c,sites/article.html

Misuse of Flickr photo more about privacy than intellectual property. Virgin Mobile used photo of Alison Chang posted on Flicker for an advertising campaign in Australia without her permission. Chang v. Virgin Mobile USA is not the typical intellectual property rights case, this case hinges on privacy, the right of people not to have their likeness used in an ad without permission.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/01/technology/01link.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=Noam+cohen%2C+flickr&st=nyt&oref=slogin

Mark Zuckerberg & Co. stood up in front of the advertising community in New York today and unveiled Facebook Ads, an ad system that allows companies to use the Facebook social graph and to develop highly targeted ads. Large brands such as Coca-Cola (KO), Sony Pictures (SNE) and Verizon (VZ) have signed on for this effort. Part of the engine powering this new ad system is called Beacon, which takes data from 44 web destinations and mashes it up with Facebook’s internal information to help build more focused advertising messages.

While it seems to be a clever idea, a quick review reveals that Beacon might turn out to be a privacy hairball for the company.

http://gigaom.com/2007/11/06/facebook-beacon-privacy-issues/