FTC To Monitor MySpace And/Or Empty Space For 20 Years

from the why-you-write-broad-privacy-policies dept

We've discussed many times that the main problem with privacy policies is that their very nature encourages companies to actually do less to care about your privacy. That is, the only way a company gets in trouble with their privacy policy is if they don't obey their own privacy policy. Thus, it's much smarter to create a privacy policy that effectively says that the company can do whatever it wants and doesn't have to respect users' privacy. In that way, it's much harder to actually violate someone's privacy. Considering that no one actually reads these privacy policies (and for the few who do, no one understands them) means that it's even easier to make that work. Still, however, some companies go beyond their own privacy policies, and the FTC has to step in and slap them around. The latest... is MySpace.

Yes, MySpace. That also-ran social networking site that no one uses any more has come to an agreement with the FTC over violating its own privacy policy. Specifically, it appears that MySpace made it possible for advertisers to associate identities with advertisements so that advertisers could build a direct profile of an individual. Of course, it doesn't appear that anyone actually did this. The settlement means that MySpace will undergo "regular privacy assessments" for the next 20 years. I have two thoughts on this: first, there is almost no chance that MySpace exists in 20 years. Second, I never understand this 20 year deadline on FTC deals. If, miraculously, there is still a MySpace in 2033, it can go back to skimping on its privacy protections?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Richard, May 10th, 2012 @ 11:25am

    So advertisers spied (could have spied) on all 4 remaining MySpace users?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 11:26am

    Re:

    So advertisers spied (could have spied) on all 4 remaining MySpace users?


    I had thought there were only 3, but you're right. I had forgotten about Tom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 11:35am

    Re: Re:

    "I had thought there were only 3, but you're right. I had forgotten about Tom."

    You mispelled Bob....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Mark, May 10th, 2012 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re:

    Even Tom has moved away from Myspace

    By 2010, Anderson was no longer the default "friend" on Myspace, being replaced by a profile called "Today On MySpace" or "T.O.M.".[19] Anderson said on Facebook in September 2011 that "I left the company in early 2009, and like most of you, I don't like using it anymore ... not a fan of what the new folks have done with MySpace."[20]


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Anderson

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well, at least Tom has a facebook profile so he can keep in touch with his friends.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2012 @ 11:47am

    Every day I expect at least one stupid thing from the government/corporations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Glen, May 10th, 2012 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    He actually does a lot on Google +. Although lately it is more about showing off his photography skills. I started to follow him because of his takes on the technology and social networks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

    If, miraculously, there is still a MySpace in 2033, it can go back to skimping on its privacy protections?

    No, but our taxpayer dollars will no longer be used to keep an eye on them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 12:09pm

    Re:

    Speaking of which, we should be able to cash in our "taxpayer bucks" for credits or prizes, like my credit cards and illegal gambling site (which was ICE'd twice, and promptly sent me emails telling them where they had moved. Great job ICE!)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Liz (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 12:14pm

    What do you mean MySpace won't be around in 20 years? I bet it'll be around as long as my Geocities page I made in 1998!


    Huh, I don't seem to have a Geocities page any longer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    Geocities lasted 15 years at least.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    Re:

    This will fix that. (Courtesy of another Techdirt reader who missed Geocities)

    http://wonder-tonic.com/geocitiesizer/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Liz (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re:

    Well almost. Geocities was bought up by Yahoo! and put some questionable passages in their updated Terms of Service. Plus with the bandwith limits added and HUGE adspace hijacks, most of Geocities users left the service. Yahoo!Geocities languished for a number of years afterwards. A lot of people went to the next thing - Livejournal!

    While Livejournal is still around and in use, I don't know anyone personally that still uses it. Hardly ever hear about it any longer except in passing memory. A lot of people moved from LJ to MySpace. Then MySpace to Facebook. Now with G+ and Dispora cropping up, who knows what the next social site will be.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Liz (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re:

    OK, that's kinda sad and awesome at the same time. I LOL'd

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 12:27pm

    "In an ironic twist of fate, FTC monitors will be required to have MySpace accounts, thus ensuring the Zombie MySpace will be twitching long after its expiration date."
    --Courtesy Made Up News All Rights Reserved

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Glen, May 10th, 2012 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re:

    I entered Techdirt's URL. OUCH!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    LJ is still used to find various fanfiction.

    I hear Conan O'Brian uses it to write Battlestar Galactica fanfiction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Baldaur Regis (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Thanks Glen. Now my eyeballs are bleeding.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    pr, May 10th, 2012 @ 12:37pm

    In other news, it's reported that brake components used in certain 1953 Studebaker Starliners could rust when exposed to road salt, and NHTSA has ordered a recall.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re:

    You're welcome. (still)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, of course it was you :Lobo. Duh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    hothmonster, May 10th, 2012 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I hear Conan O'Brian uses it to write Battlestar Galactica fanfiction."

    Links, now!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    I think this type of thing is what the government should be poking around in. I do think the government has too much power overall, but I also think they have a place in providing oversight and consumer protection. Joe Citizen doesn't have the finances or wherewithal to battle corporations like this, and even if we did, we don't have the power to punish them when they're guilty. Yes, Myspace is an also-ran, but I still approve of the FTC sticking their nose in this.

    As for the 20 years thing, it's probably just a rollover from offline investigations. Can anyone confirm if the FTC follows up on offline entities for 20 years if found guilty of wrong-doing? What I really want to see is this 20 year chain attached to Specific Media LLC and not just Myspace. That way when Myspace isn't around 20 years from now and Specific Media buys something else, they will still be under the same scrutiny.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, May 10th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

    How is this possibly bad? The FTC is creating jobs that will last 20 years and help protect the public (a very very small part of it at least). YAY Government jobs! Where good enough is above average.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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