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FTC Settlement – Twitter Barred for 20 Years From Misleading

06.27.10

President-Elect Obama’s Twitter account was hacked “offering his more than 150,000 followers a chance to win $500 in free gas.” Twitter settled the FTC’s charges that “that it deceived consumers and put their privacy at risk by failing to safeguard their personal information, marking the agency’s first such case against a social networking service.” In my recent testimony before the Texas Senate I highlighted the problem with violating FTC privacy laws, and obviously this is just the beginning of Social Media claims that we will all deal with about Internet privacy.

FTC Settlement Terms

Here’s what Twitter agreed to as part of its settlement:

Twitter will be barred for 20 years from misleading consumers about the extent to which it protects the security, privacy, and confidentiality of nonpublic consumer information, including the measures it takes to prevent unauthorized access to nonpublic information and honor the privacy choices made by consumers. The company also must establish and maintain a comprehensive information security program, which will be assessed by an independent auditor every other year for 10 years.

Twitter Adds Location to Messages

Recently Twitter announced that it would allow “users tag their messages with their location.” So given the FTC settlement it seems that adding location would seriously impact privacy if one can easily learn when the tweets are originating.

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