Data-rich companies like Facebook have a unique opportunity to capitalize on the recent surge in regulatory scrutiny and turn it to their advantage.

Savvy tech companies are attuned to public opinion and won’t allow others to control the narrative. They are already taking steps to regain the upper hand in the privacy debate.

Facebook demonstrated

EU and U.S. officials finally unveiled the full text of the proposed EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework earlier this week. The agreement is the culmination of a five-month negotiation to address European concerns regarding mass surveillance and personal data protection issues surrounding transatlantic data transfers. The European Commission’s Article 29 Working Party must now review and

The French data protection authority (CNIL) is placing Facebook’s EU-U.S. data transfer practices under new scrutiny over its use of the defunct Safe Harbor framework.

The agency issued a two-part order Feb. 8 requiring the social media company to stop using Safe Harbor to transfer data to the United States. Safe Harbor was nullified in

 With the ever-growing popularity of social networking sites, and with so many employees exercising poor judgment online, it’s easy to understand why employers are concerned about the messages and images that that their employees are disseminating on these websites.

For employers, the costs are real: Poor choices by their employees can bring with it

The Wall Street Journal wrote a series of articles on Monday about Facebook and other meda-social media sites passing User Identifications (UIDs) to its advertisers. The article has generated a huge amount of attention, begging the question whether the Wall Street Journal is exposing a significant privacy problem, or making something of nothing in the pursuit of web page impressions.
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As with NebuAd here in the United States, the Phorm service in Europe is under constant and increasing attack.  The business model for both is basically to team up with Internet service providers, track and collect Internet usage data, and then use that information to serve interest-based ads to the Internet user.  Take a trip to a popular gadget web site, and expect to be served advertisements that offer gadgets for sale.  Visit a travel interest web site, and expect to start noticing advertisements from travel sites in other web pages. 

Announcing that the European Union has "opened an infringement proceeding" to investigate Phorm’s activities, the European Union’s Commissioner for Information Society and Media, Viviane Reding, said in a video message that "European privacy rules are crystal clear: a person’s information can only be used with their prior consent. We cannot give up this basic principle, and have all our exchanges monitored, surveyed and stored in exchange for a promise of ‘more relevant’ advertising! I will not shy away from taking action where an EU country falls short of this duty."

The legal action commenced by the European Union basically consists of an inquiry and warning to Britain, inquiring into Britain’s interpretation of the privacy regulations and rules in place, and an explanation of how operations by Phorm comply with those privacy regulations and rules.  In other words, the European Union wants Britain to explain why it has not commenced any action against Phorm.  Britain has two months to respond, and additional inquiries and warnings may follow before the European Union forces Britain into court.

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