DNS: Internet Security

May 10, 2010

DNS - Facebook Hires Tim Muris, Former FTC Chair, to Defend its Privacy Practices



Facebook (News - Alert) has reportedly hired Tim Muris, former Republican chairman of the Federal Trade Commission and currently an attorney at O'Melveny & Myers, to defend its privacy practices. The move comes as Facebook is facing increasing scrutiny from federal authorities regarding its privacy practices.

The move comes as the FTC (News - Alert) is reportedly investigating complaints filed by privacy advocates alleging that Facebook is violating users' first amendment rights to privacy. Congress has also shown some initiative to get the privacy concerns addressed, with several US senators already weighing in on the debate.

Last week TMCnet reported on a Facebook security flaw that allowed users to view others chats.

In an interview with TMCnet's Kelly McGuire, a Facebook spokesperson explained that for a limited period of time, a bug permitted some users' chat messages and pending friend requests to be made visible to their friends by manipulating the "preview my profile" feature in privacy settings.

'When we received reports of the problem, our engineers promptly diagnosed it and temporarily disabled the chat function," the spokesperson, who declined to be identified, told McGuire. "We also pushed out a fix to take care of the visible friend requests, which is now complete. Chat was back up and running within a few hours."

However, rumors persisted that the bug was found embedded in a Facebook 'privacy' feature that allowed members to view what their profile page would look like to others after either hiding or making public specific items.

Reports of the security breach began last Wednesday when users tried to preview their own profiles and, instead, they were given the option to view their friends' live chats.

Facebook told CNBC that the bug was in effect for a 'limited amount of time,' and that the company had disabled Facebook Chat while it worked on the problem.


Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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