The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that an Australian technologist, Nik Cubrilovic, has discovered that Facebook is tracking the websites its users visit even when they have logged out of the social networking site. Reactions have been mixed, but is this something we should be that surprised about?
Of course, it’s worrying to learn that even if you have logged out of a service you are being watched, and in the same breath, I’m reminded of an Episode of South Park entitled Human CentiPad.
The episode laments us for simply clicking “yes” to terms and conditions without actually reading them.
Though this time, it would appear we weren’t even given that choice.
Ovum analyst, Eden Zoller:
Facebook is a lot more than a social network and ultimately wants to be the premier platform on which people experience, organise and share digital entertainment.
The technologist and Wollongong-based Nik Cubrilovic who stumbled upon the tracking of your every move:
The advice is to log out of Facebook. But logging out of Facebook only de-authorizes your browser from the web application, a number of cookies (including your account number) are still sent along to all requests to facebook.com.
Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit. The only solution is to delete every Facebook cookie in your browser, or to use a separate browser for Facebook interactions.
From what Cubrilovic has been able to establish, it would appear that it’s mainly websites with Facebook buttons that are helping Facebook watch you at the moment.
Cubrilovic has previously been involved with the large technology blog TechCrunch, as well as online storage company Omnidrive. Privacy has been something he has focused on for many years.
Most troubling however, is that fact that Cubrilovic has yet to get a response from Facebook about this privacy feature flaw after sending them a good few emails about the issue.
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