European court rules Google must remove links in privacy case

Court of Justice of the European Union | The New York Times | BBC | WAN-IFRA

Europeans have a right to have some data about themselves removed from search engines, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled Tuesday. If results display pages that are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed and in the light of the time that has elapsed,” the search engine operator must remove them, the court ruled, even if the “publication in itself on those pages is lawful.”

The ruling comes in a case brought by Mario Costeja González, a Spaniard, who asked Google to remove “an announcement for a real-estate auction organised following attachment proceedings for the recovery of social security debts owed by Mr Costeja González” published by the newspaper La Vanguardia in the late ’90s. Read more


New Yorker introduces Aaron Swartz-developed privacy tool Strongbox

The New Yorker | The Washington Post | The New York Times | Wired | Guardian | All Things D

The New Yorker on Tuesday introduced its new, anonymous electronic tip tool Strongbox, coincidentally on the heels of renewed concerns over privacy for journalists’ sources following revelations of Department of Justice surveillance of AP staffers (which The Washington Post’s Timothy B. Lee notes is “likely perfectly legal”)

The Strongbox site ostensibly allows people to submit letters, documents, emails or any other files to the New Yorker anonymously. It was developed in conjunction with Wired investigations editor Kevin Poulsen and the late Web activist and developer Aaron Swartz, who hanged himself in January after facing charges of wire fraud and computer fraud. Poulsen, whose publication also is owned by New Yorker parent Conde Nast, wrote about Swartz’s involvement, and why Strongbox was a necessity. Read more


Can a Twitter user really prohibit you from republishing tweets?

Tim Cushing explains what happened when Teri Buhl, an “investigative journalist covering finance/Wall Street,” declared in her Twitter bio that “No tweets are publishable.”

A couple people who noticed the disclaimer questioned it. One of them, criminal defense lawyer Mark Bennett, received bullying emails from Teri Buhl that asked “Do you carry libel insurance?” and “Do you have outside counsel, or do you represent yourself?”

The story gets longer and weirder. But the underlying issue is fascinating: Is Buhl’s claim to privacy of public tweets as absurd as it sounds? Read more


With ‘frictionless sharing,’ Facebook and news orgs push boundaries of online privacy

Facebook again may have gone too far in its quest to make privacy obsolete, and this time some news organizations could get burned by going along with it.

Facebook spent years making it easier for us to share by building its network and placing “Like” buttons across the Web. Its latest idea goes much further, turning sharing into a thoughtless process in which everything we read, watch or listen to is shared with our friends automatically.

Encouraging sharing is great. Making sharing easier is even better. But this is much more than that. What Facebook has done is change the definition of “sharing.” It’s the difference between telling a friend about something that happened to you today and opening your entire diary.

News organizations and other content companies are eagerly accompanying Facebook down this path. Read more

9 Comments begins tracking personal user information without consent | Dan Gillmor
The Wall Street Journal has revised the privacy policy for to permit the site to connect a user’s Web browsing data with personally identifiable information without consent. Previously, the policy stated that it would ask for users’ permission before doing so. The Journal’s own Digits blog reports that the change will enable more personalized information and services. Dan Gillmor calls it “a crappy and hypocritical move” in light of the Journal’s extensive reporting on online privacy invasions. “Remember: I and other Journal readers are paying real money to use that site. We are not getting something for free in return for handing over some personal information. The Journal is just greedy.” Alan Murray, executive editor for online at the Journal, tweets that Gillmor’s take is “a bit overwrought. Read more

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How to lessen social media security risks from third-party apps

How much time has gone by since you joined Twitter? How about Facebook?

According to, my Twitter birthday is April 26, 2008. Since that day, I’ve sent out more than 9,600 tweets and gained over 1,700 followers. I’ve also allowed multiple third-party applications (such as TweetDeck, TwitPic and Seesmic) access to my account.


There are a variety of reasons why I give these apps access to my account information. Maybe I’m testing a new product, posting a photo from my phone, or tweeting a link directly from a website. I often allow access without thinking twice.

But this can be risky. Apps all have access to different amounts of personal data. And as these applications add users, their databases grow and become targets for hackers. Read more


Danny Sullivan: ‘Facebook Connect freaks me out’

Danny Sullivan’s Daggle blog

After recently signing into Groupon, Search Engine Land Editor-in-Chief Danny Sullivan wondered why the site wanted access to a variety of personal information: a list of his friends, his recent check-ins, his date of birth and permission to automatically post status updates for him.

Of course, Sullivan was attempting to log in using Facebook Connect, which would effectively give the coupon service access to most of that data from his Facebook account.

As Sullivan notes, the problem is not that Groupon and Facebook were failing to notify him of this fact during the sign-in process, but rather that the notifications were too vague to be of value. For instance, what exactly might Groupon want to post to his wall, and when? Sullivan writes:

“My guess is that if I do things in Groupon, it might offer to let me share my actions to my Facebook Wall, if I explicitly say so.

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