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March 15, 2012

New Social Networking Sites Promise to Give Users Back Their Privacy

By Shawn Hebert, TMCnet Contributing Writer

In an interview with Professor Murray Nabors on Web Talk Radio, UmeNow’s chief executive Evelyn Castillo-Bach claims that “giant social networks are really data collection companies in disguise.”

Facebook (News - Alert) has officially been cited by the Federal Trade Commission for ignoring the privacy settings of its users and then sharing that information with all sorts of companies, such as games, to apps, to advertisers,” said Castillo-Bach.

She warns that not only should social network users worry about what they share and who they share it with, but that most of them are unaware of another hidden privacy threat called “supercookies”.

Supercookies serve the same purpose as regular cookies, which is to track user preferences and browsing history. The difference, however, is that a supercookie will secretly collect user data beyond the limitations of common industry practice, which raises serious privacy concerns.

“Supercookies are allowing Facebook users to be tracked, even after they log off. Whatever you do within the internet, there’s the likelihood that you’re being tracked and that information is being relayed back to one of the giants, such as Facebook or Google (News - Alert). Ad-based sites’ first client is the advertiser, not the user,” she stated.

Facebook’s recent IPO filing had a valuation estimated at $100 billion. The primary reason for the astronomically high number is not simply due to its near one billion user-base, but rather the massive amount of data it has collected from each of those users over the years.

Castillo-Bach is the founder of UmeNow.com and CollegiateNation.com, social networks where privacy is ensured and both you and your data are protected, according to the site’s privacy policy. She told Web Talk Radio that she wants to see a change in the social networking industry, and hopes to lead by example. “We need to communicate to our kids and educate them on how these websites work, and we need to demand our privacy back, or else it’s time to find an alternate solution.”






Edited by Jennifer Russell
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