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September 26, 2012

Privacy an Issue for Some After Facebook Teams With Datalogix

Worried about your privacy on Facebook? So is the Electronic Privacy Information Centre (EPIC).

EPIC is asking the Federal Trade Commission to look into Facebook’s recently-announced partnership with Datalogix, a company that collects digital media and offline purchasing data.

“EPIC believes that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission should open an investigation to determine whether Facebook’s proposed arrangement with Datalogix complies with the terms of the recent settlement (with the FTC),” EPIC president Marc Rotenberg said in a statement.

Under terms of the settlement with the FTC, Facebook agreed to provide users with “clear and prominent notice” if their information is shared. Facebook must also have users’ permission to share any information “that exists outside the auspices of its privacy settings.”

The FTC is also compelling Facebook to uphold a “comprehensive privacy program,” and subject the social media site to biennial privacy audits.

Datalogix has purchasing data from about 70 million U.S. households, mainly taken from loyalty cards and retail programs at grocers and drug stores.

“By matching e-mail addresses or other identifying information associated with those cards against e-mails or information used to establish Facebook accounts, Datalogix can track whether people bought a product in a store after seeing an ad on Facebook,” The Financial Times reported.

Datalogix then assembles a report for Facebook and its advertisers to gauge the best tactics to convince people to buy certain products offline.

Facebook has said it is paying Datalogix for the data matching.

All Facebook users are included in the advertising studies carried out by Datalogix. To opt out, Facebook users must go to the Datalogix website, for which Facebook has a link posted in its help centre.