Franken and Schumer To CEO: We Hate Facebook's Privacy Changes

Franken and Schumer To CEO: We Hate Facebook's Privacy Changes

Recent and proposed changes to Facebook’s information sharing policies have Senators Franken (D-MN) and Schumer (D-NY) a little irritated. They’ve penned a letter, along with Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mark Begich (D-AK), asking Facebook to reconsider their new opt-out procedure, and to take further steps to keep user’s personal details, such as their interests and friend lists, private unless they chose to share them. [More]

Senator Asks FTC To Provide Privacy Guidelines For Facebook, Other Social Networks

Senator Asks FTC To Provide Privacy Guidelines For Facebook, Other Social Networks

Senator Charles Schumer is upset on your behalf over Facebook’s latest loosening of its privacy policies, and yesterday he called for the FTC to step in and provide some guidance, offering to introduce legislation if the agency feels it needs that extra authority. Specifically, Schumer wants three things: opt-out defaults should be switched to opt-in, sites should always disclose where the information is going, and there should be some general “guidelines for user privacy” that sites follow. [More]

Mapping The Hidden Costs Of Living In The Suburbs

Mapping The Hidden Costs Of Living In The Suburbs

Living in the city seems much more expensive than the suburbs, until you consider transportation costs. Good points us to a new tool from The Center for Neighborhood Technology that maps the percentage of income various areas spend on transportation and housing combined. Turns out living in the suburbs can be less cost effective.

Something to research when you’re thinking of moving. [More]

Google Data Explorer Makes Pretty Charts From Depressing Numbers

Google Data Explorer Makes Pretty Charts From Depressing Numbers

Google Labs recently unveiled its latest toy, the Public Data Explorer. The tool adds visualization features to Google’s public data search engine, letting you make charts and graphs like this one, which overlays unemployment stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on a U.S. map. Colorful and cheery, right? All those lovely pale green circles (10% umemployment), flashes of orange (13%) and the occasional outburst of red (15%). Who knew that modeling depressing data could be so much fun! [More]

Do You Mind If Mint Sells Data Based On Your Transactions?

Do You Mind If Mint Sells Data Based On Your Transactions?

Financial blogger Felix Salmon wants to know why there isn’t regulatory oversight of Mint and other financial management websites, especially if they’re going to sell data created from their users’ transaction histories. [More]

Illinois And Wisconsin Do Not Mess Around When It Comes To Drinkin'

Illinois And Wisconsin Do Not Mess Around When It Comes To Drinkin'

Say what you will about the heart of the Midwest,
it’s certainly not hard to find a bar. Geography blog FloatingSheep
took a look a the bar-to-grocery store ratio in different parts of
the country and it became immediately apparent that Illinois and
Wisconsin (and part of Iowa) team up to form the beer belly of
America.

Do A Total Background Check On Yourself

Do A Total Background Check On Yourself

Now you can know what Big Brother knows about you and get access to the same dirt everyone from your boss, landlord, insurance agent, to your favorite casino has on you. Here is a comprehenisve list of websites and phone numbers for most of the “specialty” consumer reports, like your employment, rental, and check writing history. Be sure to check them out and correct any errors, before a crisis hits. [More]

Verizon Didn't Know Difference Between $.002 and $.00002

Verizon Didn't Know Difference Between $.002 and $.00002

Who’s in charge, the masters or the machines? You’ll be wondering the same thing after you listen to this iconic gem from The Consumerist archive, the infamous Verizon Can’t Do Math call, which we reposting because the original video got deleted and the posts were kind of scattered. In it, George recorded his attempts to get Verizon to explain why they said they would charge .002 cents/kbfor data roaming, and then billed him for .002 dollars/kb, a difference of about $76. Problem is, no one at Verizon can do math. [More]

Your Medical Records: Ask For Them!

Your Medical Records: Ask For Them!

Hospitals can be slow to respond for health records, writes CNN, which can cause serious problems if you’re moving a patient from one facility to another. Here are steps from that article on how to make sure you get your data as quickly as possible. [More]

AT&T Debuts New Unlimited Plans In Attempt To Irritate Verizon

AT&T Debuts New Unlimited Plans In Attempt To Irritate Verizon

AT&T just put out a press release announcing new unlimited plans for all of their customers, even the ones with, gasp, iPhones. [More]

Verizon Introduces Mandatory $9.99 3G Data Plan

Verizon Introduces Mandatory $9.99 3G Data Plan

Verizon is cutting its prices, and by cutting them is actually raising them. What? Yeah, let’s let Ars Technica explain it. [More]

See What Your Zipcode Likes To Rent On Netflix

See What Your Zipcode Likes To Rent On Netflix

The NYT has taken some data released by Netflix (the top 50 rental titles for each zipcode) and made some interactive heat maps out of it. It’s weirdly fun. [More]

Second BlackBerry Data Outage This Week Now Over

Second BlackBerry Data Outage This Week Now Over

Blackberry users on all mobile carriers in North and South America experienced e-mail and Internet outages for about eight hours late on Tuesday. This follows a shorter outage on December 17th that only affected e-mail services. [More]

Closeted Lesbian Sues Netflix For Potential Outing

Closeted Lesbian Sues Netflix For Potential Outing

Here’s the problem with anonymized data: if it were truly anonymized, it wouldn’t be useful to anyone for anything. With enough data about a person–say, their age, gender, and zip code–it’s not hard to narrow down who someone is. That’s the idea behind a class-action lawsuit against Netflix regarding the customer data they released to the public as part of the Netflix Prize project, a contest to help create better movie recommendations. A closeted lesbian alleges that the data available about her could reveal her identity. [More]

AT&T Hints That It Might Introduce Usage-Based Pricing For Smartphone Customers

AT&T Hints That It Might Introduce Usage-Based Pricing For Smartphone Customers

What do you say when everyone keeps complaining that you can’t handle traffic on your network? If you’re AT&T, you say “We just need to charge more money” and “Our customers who are actually using their phones as advertised are ruining things.” AT&T’s head of consumer services, Ralph de la Vega, told investors today that usage-based pricing is going to happen eventually, and that the company is planning on giving heavy users–who make up 3 percent of their customers–“incentives to reduce or modify their usage.” Somehow I’m guessing he doesn’t mean coupons or cash-back bonuses. [More]

Sprint Served Customer GPS Data To Cops Over 8 Million Times

Sprint Served Customer GPS Data To Cops Over 8 Million Times

An Indiana University grad student has made public an audio recording of a Sprint employee who describes how the company has given away customer GPS location data to cops over 8 million times in less than a year. Ars technica reports that “law enforcement [officers] could log into a special Sprint Web portal and, without ever having to demonstrate probable cause to a judge, gain access to geolocation logs detailing where they’ve been and where they are.” Update: Sprint says the 8 million figure refers to individual pings of GPS data, and that the number of individuals involved is in the thousands. [More]

Yesterday's T-Mobile Outage Affected 2 Million Users

Yesterday's T-Mobile Outage Affected 2 Million Users

Boy, T-Mo is on a roll lately. First they gave Perez Hilton fits by losing his Sidekick info, then, presumably in a misguided attempt to make up for it, they began showing boobs to one of our readers (they are still investigating), and now as an encore — a massive outage.

State Job Website Has Great Opportunities For Self-Starting Identity Thieves

State Job Website Has Great Opportunities For Self-Starting Identity Thieves

CBS 5 exposed a “gaping hole” in the code of California’s state-run employment website that allows anyone who views the site to access and modify other users’ resumes and personal info simply by changing some numbers in the URL.