Chairmen Of Congressional Privacy Caucus Contact Zuckerberg (Again)

    February 4, 2011

Facebook’s short-lived (but soon-to-be-re-enabled) experiment with sharing users’ addresses and phone numbers with third parties did not impress certain politicians.  Indeed, Representatives Barton and Markey, Co-Chairmen of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, were bothered enough to write to Mark Zuckerberg.

In fairness to Facebook, the company only intended to share users’ data with their permission.  It was quick to back down in response to criticism, too.  So a thought about political grandstanding might not be out of line.

But Barton and Markey still had lots of questions.  Eleven questions and requests, in fact, ranging from "Please describe the process Facebook is currently employing to adjust the feature prior to re-enabling it" to a three-parter about Facebook’s privacy policy.

Markey argued in a statement, "Facebook needs to protect the personal information of its users to ensure that Facebook doesn’t become Phonebook.  That’s why I am requesting responses to these questions to better understand Facebook’s practices regarding possible access to users’ personal information by third parties.  This is sensitive data and needs to be protected."

Barton then added, "Facebook’s popularity has made it a leader in innovation and we hope they will also be a leader in privacy protection.  The computer – especially with sites like Facebook – is now a virtual front door to your house allowing people access to your personal information.  You deserve to look through the peep hole and decide who you are letting in."

The congressmen gave Zuckerberg until February 23rd to respond.