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Social Networking Privacy and the FTC

May 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 153

Timing is everything when you are taking your company public, or when your government agency is asking for more congressional budget money. Yes, if we all had perfect timing, we'd all be one-percenters I imagine. I'd like to take the issue of timing in government and business to a higher level if I might?

You see, there was an article in the New York Times on April 9, 2012 titled; "F.T.C. Charges MySpace with Breaking U.S. Law in Sharing Users' Personal Information," by Edward Wyatt. The article stated that "Continuing its crackdown on Internet privacy violations, The FTC charged MySpace on Tuesday with violating federal law by breaching its promise not to share users' personal information, including their Web browsing habits, with advertising companies."

Additionally the article stated; "The F.T.C. asserted that from Jan. 2009 to June 2010, and from Oct. 2010 to Oct. 2011, MySpace, a social media Web site, transmitted information, including internal identification numbers of users, their ages & genders, to outside ad networks that served ads to MySpace."

Okay, yes, I understand the whole privacy debate when it comes to social online networks, perhaps why I never participate in them myself. Nevertheless, I find it outrageously curious of the timing of this FTC settlement just a moment before Facebook does their IPO (estimated date; May 18, 2012 if SEC paperwork is approved). Now then, anyone who truly knows how our regulatory bodies work in the US knows that there are monied interests, and people behind every government lawsuit or violation, or even perceived violation of a regulation.

Am I pointing fingers here or calling "crony capitalism" at play here, suggesting behind the scenes question marks? Well, yes and no - but rather, what I am doing is pointing out the obvious. The reality is I can name over 10 major cases of the FTC and point to all the political and business or industry interests behind their enforcement actions. Suffice it to say that there are 10s if not 100s of billions of dollars at stake in this upcoming Facebook IPO - so why now? If the FTC really wanted to show neutrality, they'd have waited until after the IPO and plus a few months, after all they've waited this long.

Now then, without naming names myself or playing the persnickety whistleblower - I'd say we need a complete and full investigation of the FTC and their activities - up the chain of command to the Congressmen who complained, and a list of their lobbyists. Also, any complaints from any privacy groups - and as long as we are investigating the FTC, let's run the gamut and check all agencies from the FDA, FAA, SEC, FBI, FCC, EPA, and the entire alphabet soup of agencies.

We need responsible and reliable government and if we can't get that, it needs to be made renewable.

FYI and Case in Point, as of the writing of this article there was yet another article in the WSJ "Google Preps for Possible FTC Fight by Stepping Up Public Relations," which noted that both sides, the government and Google, were using PR to pre-try their case in the court of public opinion. This just goes to show you what a circus our regulatory agencies have created for us, but I ask, seriously I ask; to what avail?

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on US Business Regulations. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

Source: EzineArticles
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