sent a letter to the FTC asking it to investigate privacy breaches and the new Facebook Timeline.The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has
"With Timeline, Facebook has once again taken control over the user's data from the user and has now made information that was essentially achieved and inaccessible widely available without the consent of the user," writes EPIC to the FTC. It urges the FTC to investigate whether Timeline is "consistent with the terms of the settlement."
This request comes less than two months after the November 29, 2011 settlement with the FTC in which Facebook agreed to obtain express consent from its users before changing privacy settings. It will also undergo privacy audits every two years for the next 20 years.
Timeline also happened to launch around the same time that Facebook announced ads a.k.a. "sponsored posts," would start appearing in the news feed.
Before Timeline, Facebook users posted status updates, links, videos or images, and just expected them to disappear over time. Back then, the only way one could find old content was to keep scrolling down on their profile until it appeared.
Of course, Facebook had previously started surfacing the "old status updates" feature, angering many users.
Facebook Timeline surfaces all of a user's past posts. The good news is that after profiles transition to Timeline, users still have seven days to "clean up" what they don't want to share with their Facebook friends.
The letter from EPIC goes on to mention correlations between the Facebook Timeline "Health and Wellness" item, which suggests that users should update their profiles with life events related to medical data. Facebook has already partnered with major pharmaceutical companies to market drugs and medical treatment.
By exposing one's entire life to Timeline, users "become more vulnerable to stalkers, government agents and potential employers," writes EPIC.
Timeline is Facebook's latest attempt to collect as much information about you as possible, er, to make it easier for *you* to share your life story with all of your Facebook friends.
During the November 2011 FTC settlement, Zuckerberg acknowledged that Facebook had "made a bunch of mistakes in regards to privacy," but it's clear that Facebook does not want to truly be held accountable. As our own Scott Fulton writes, "It's hard to establish a standard of care for property that so many millions of individuals willingly give for free."
Like Spotify and frictionless sharing, Timeline is yet another attempt at getting users to share as much information as possible. What information is too sensitive to share with a Facebook friend network? That is up to the user.