Q4 2012 Quick Links, Part 2 (Privacy, Advertising, Content)

By Eric Goldman


* Knowing how the FTC is cracking down on privacy violations and deceptive persuasion techniques, it’s a little jarring to see how aggressive Obama’s campaign was on both fronts. NY Times (1, 2), WSJ and Time. Even if the tactics were completely legal, is it the kind of ethical behavior that the Obama administration expects to see from businesses? Kate Kaye nails it at AdAge: Obama’s Approach to Big Data: Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

* Google’s privacy audit disclosure mandated by its settlement of the FTC Google Buzz case. Does this look like it’s a helpful document to anyone? To me, the document looks very…expensive.

* Danny Sullivan, Microsoft To Make Same Privacy Change Google Was Attacked For; No One Seems To Care. NY Times coverage.

* U.S. v. Google Inc., 2012 WL 5833994 (N.D. Cal. November 16, 2012). Court approves the FTC-Google settlement over Safari cookie tracking.

* Using sophistry, Microsoft navigates FERPA to provide cloud services to universities.

* EU Data Privacy regulators want Google to fix its integrated privacy policy.

* Google Video executives’ Italian privacy conviction overturned

* In HR 6671, Congress gives Netflix the right to get users to provide advance consent to frictionless sharing. Forget the fiscal cliff; this is maximally important work for Congress to prioritize. Of course, the ECPA update—part of a quid pro quo with NetFlix’s request—somehow got lost along the way.

* Murdock v. L.A. Fitness Intern., LLC, 2012 WL 5331224 (D. Minn. Oct. 29, 2012). A Facebook posting about an employee’s termination isn’t a privacy invasion.

* In re Platt, 2012 WL 5337197 (Bkrtcy. W.D. Tex. Oct. 29, 2012). After a physical altercation, the court made negative inferences against one of the participants for that person making their Facebook page private shortly thereafter.

* Del Vecchio v Amazon settles. Prior blog post.

* KISSMetrics settles supercookies lawsuit.

* Twitter’s t.co shortened link–which Twitter automatically overlays on other shortened links–got briefly suspended, possibly because it was misclassified as a phishing threat.


* Facebook’s pay-to-promote and Sponsored Stories advertising units may create a conflict of interest with its algorithmic filtering of friends’ posts: Ars Technica and George Takei. Facebook’s sorta response.

* NY Times reports that advertisers are increasingly moving away from buying ads at publishers with attractive audiences and instead delivering ads via ad networks that find the targeted audiences wherever they are on the web. The result is that publishers can’t charge a premium for aggregating high-value audiences because, through targeting, advertisers can reach that audience at cheaper venues. More NYT coverage of this issue.

* Wired: Facebook Is Quietly Making a Killing With Ads That Pursue You

* AdWeek interviews Google’s “ad cop,” David Baker.

* Internet Retailer: How Zappos balances privacy and targeted ads

* If most brands in movies are paid product placement, the logical inverse is that brands want to veto free placement they don’t like.

* False advertising lawsuit against New York Law School rejected.

Content Industry

* 90% of Brazilian newspapers opt out of Google News. Meanwhile, Google threatens to cut off French publishers if France passes a law taxing Google for including them in Google News. NY Times recap of the issue.

* Blodget digs into the economics of the New York Times’ newsroom.

* How cable bundling is leading to inflated cable subscription prices, mostly because sports broadcasters are overpaying sports leagues for broadcasting rights. Another reason why we don’t have cable at home.