Online privacy: Another breach at Facebook
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has another privacy headache, said Emily Steele and Geoffrey Fowler in The Wall Street Journal. His social-networking website’s most popular apps are transmitting their users’ identifying information to 25 advertising and Internet tracking firms, in violation of Facebook’s own rules. The problem affects Facebook members when they use popular apps such as the Farmville game or the Family Tree genealogy program. A glitch in Facebook’s software allows the third-party developers who create apps—software for playing games or sharing common interests—to capture a Facebook user’s identifying information and that of the user’s friends. Facebook has been criticized in recent years for “modifying its privacy rules to expose more of a user’s information.”
Facebook “is trying to downplay the whole sorry affair,” said Kelly Fiveash in The Register, saying it’s committed to protecting users’ privacy and denying that the personal data siphoned from Facebook was misused. But the company is also suggesting that it knew about the privacy breach well before the Journal raised the alarm, and “just hadn’t got around to closing the door on that particular privacy leak.” That’s some commitment to privacy.
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Investigations: Mozilo pays to settle fraud charges
Former Countrywide Mortgage CEO Angelo Mozilo, whose company pioneered subprime loans, has settled civil charges of insider trading, said Greg Farrell in the Financial Times. “On the eve of his trial,” Mozilo agreed to pay $47.5 million in penalties and forfeited profits. Bank of America, which bought Countrywide in 2008, will kick in an additional $20 million. The U.S. accused Mozilo, who collected an estimated $521 million as Countrywide’s CEO from 2000 to 2008, of publicly touting the lender’s stock while privately stating that much of its loan portfolio was “toxic.”
Cable TV: Viewers lose in Cablevision fight with Fox
A fee dispute between the Fox Network and cable provider Cablevision deprived some 3 million subscribers in the New York City area of last weekend’s New York Giants–Detroit Lions game, said Samantha Gross in the Associated Press. It’s “the latest in a series of programming fee disputes that have led to blackouts of programs.” Fox is demanding that Cablevision pay $150 million a year for the right to show 12 Fox channels over its system, a price hike of $80 million.
Retailing: CVS pays for lax controls
CVS, the nation’s largest pharmacy chain, has paid $77.6 million to settle charges that it illegally sold pseudoephedrine, a cold-medicine ingredient that’s also used to make methamphetamine, said CNN.com. The sales “led directly to an increase in methamphetamine sales in California,” according to federal authorities, who say the company routinely violated a 2005 federal law limiting how much pseudoephedrine a customer can buy daily. CVS has promised to tighten its controls over pseudoephedrine sales.
Retailing: Verizon stores will carry the iPad
Apple is coming to a Verizon store near you, said Spencer Ante and Roger Cheng in The Wall Street Journal. “Apple is tapping Verizon’s retail presence” of more than 2,000 stores to sell its iPad tablet computers, ahead of “a wave of tablets from competitors” such as Motorola and Research in Motion. The iPads will be available through Verizon stores in time for the holiday shopping season. Apple’s iPad deal with Verizon has “renewed expectation” that Apple will soon unveil a Verizon-compatible version of the iPhone.
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