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article imageFacebook admits Beacon tracks offline activity

By Fortunesfool     Dec 3, 2007 in Internet
Just when you thought it was safe to jump back to Facebook, there have been further revelations about its invasive properties. It has been forced to admit that Beacon tracks user activities even when they are logged off Facebook.
Despite claims by a spokesman that Facebook does nothing with the data transmitted back to its servers in these cases and deletes it, this won't help the reputation of an already beleaguered Beacon.
It is not clear whether Facebook intends to curtail its offline monitoring attributes. Off-Facebook activities that can be broadcast to one's Facebook friends include purchasing a product, signing up for a service and including an item on a "wish list."
Stefan Berteau, senior research engineer at California's Threat Research Group, discovered Beacon's hidden capacity. He claims that users aren't informed that data on their activities at these sites is flowing back to Facebook, nor given the option to block that information from being transmitted.
If users check the option for Facebook to 'remember me,' Facebook can tie their activities on third-party Beacon sites directly to them, even if they're logged off and have opted out of the broadcast. If they have never chosen this option, the information still goes back to Facebook, but isn't tied to their Facebook identity, according to Berteau.
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