Legislators Take Further Aim at Facebook

Markey, Barton critical of plan to make addresses, phone numbers available to third-party Web sites
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Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Tex.), co-chairs of the bipartisan House Privacy Caucus want Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to answer some of questions about his company's plans to re-launch a feature that shares personal information with third parties.

The legislators are already Facebook pen pals, having sought information from the company last year after reports that companies on the site were accessing personal information without consent.

Now, in a letter to Zuckerberg dated Wednesday, they want to know about a plan to make addresses and mobile phone numbers available to third-party Web sites and application developers.

Among their questions are just what information will be shared, what risks it could pose to teens and kids, what are the opt-in and opt-out options and why, having acknowledged that sharing info could raise user concerns, was it "considering sharing access to even more sensitive personal information such as home addresses and phone numbers to third parties?"

Markey is planning on introducing a bill later this year that would prevent the tracking and profiling of children's online behavior and personal information. The Commerce Department has released a report encouraging the industry to adopt its own flexible, user-friendly do-not-track regime, and the Federal Trade Commission will likely advise that enforcement of Markey's Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) be updated to provide more privacy protections for teens.

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