Ear Hustle



Many Americans are reeling over allegations that the  National Security Agency has been monitoring private citizens’ telephone calls  and email messages. Now a lawsuit has been filed in U.S. district court in  California over allegations that Facebook accesses its users’ “private” messages  for gain. The suit asserts that Facebook, without proper disclosure to and  consent from users, mines data from the users’ communications, and that it sells  information to data aggregators, marketers, and advertisers.

The petitioners are  seeking a class action suit, believing that it is likely a majority of  Facebook’s 166 million users may be eligible.   Facebook is globally  known as a social network through which users can openly share threads of  conversations online. The threads and users’ profile information are primarily  accessible to the public on Facebook, but can be limited by the originator’s  designation of of who can see the information (such as Facebook Friends, those  people designated as a Friend by the originator).

Other vehicles for  communication through Facebook include what is commonly called ‘personal  messaging’ or ‘private messaging.’ The tool is purported to allow a private  conversation between users through the social network. Facebook does target user  information as a basis for its own advertising promotions offered by third  parties. It has made changes to its privacy settings frequently that have not  been well-received by users.

The suit invokes the Electronic Communications  Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986 and California statutes for unfair competitive  practices and privacy. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of  Justice Programs, the ECPA is a federal statute that protects wire, oral, and  electronic communications while those communications are being made, are in  transit, and when they are stored on computers.

The Act applies to email,  telephone conversations, and data stored electronically. The law’s origin was  the Federal Wiretap Act of 1968; however, Congress has further expanded and  updated the legislation to coincide with electronic and wireless communications  developments. Facebook has not, as of this writing, formally responded to the  allegations.

Source: blackvibes.com

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