Congress Scolds Facebook

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Mark Zuckerberg and employees. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Democrat Representative Ed Markey and Republican Representative Joe Barton were not amused by the Journal's report that there was a loophole on the social-networking site that allowed apps like Farmville to transmit information on the IDs of users and their friends to outside companies. "This series of breaches of consumer privacy is a cause for concern," they wrote in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, where they gave him until the end of next week to explain how many people had been affected, how it happened, and how the problem would be fixed.

Facebook is downplaying the issue. "The suggestion that the passing of a user ID to an application, as described in Facebook's privacy policy, constitutes a 'breach' is curious at best," said a spokesman, while another executive blogged that developers didn't mean to pass on information and hoarding the names of users and their friends "does not enable anyone to access private user information without explicit user consent."

In other news, the federal government is "pushing to overhaul a federal law that requires phone and broadband carriers to ensure that their networks can be wiretapped." Little brother, meet Big Brother.

More Questions For Facebook [WSJ]
U.S. Pushes to Ease Technical Obstacles to Wiretapping [NYT]