Saturday, 20 March 2010

Judge Approves $9.5 Million Facebook ‘Beacon’ Accord

Wired describe here that a US federal judge on Wednesday approved a $9.5 million settlement to a class action lawsuit challenging Facebook’s program that monitored and published what users of the social networking site were buying or renting from Blockbuster, Overstock and other locations. The case concerned allegations Facebook’s now defunct “Beacon” program breached federal wiretap and video-rental privacy laws. Terms of the settlement, in which Facebook denied any wrongdoing, require the site to finance what the deal calls a “Digital Trust Fund” that would issue more than $6 million in grants to organizations to study online privacy.

The new privacy center, according to terms of the deal, shall “fund and sponsor programs designed to educate users, regulators and enterprises regarding critical issues relating to protection of identity and personal information online through user control, and to protect users from online threats.”

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I am director of the Media and Persuasive Communication (MPC) network at Bangor University where I also lecture on political-economy of the media. I am currently working on a book provisionally titled Deconstructing Privacy for Peter Lang and leading two empirical projects in connection with privacy perception and the use of new media for smoking cessation. I am author of Creativity and Advertising: Affect, Events and Process (Routledge, 2013); The Mood of Information: A Critique of Behavioural Advertising (Continuum, 2011); and Digital Advertising (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009). Please contact me at if you are interested in Ph.D supervision or consultancy services.