Several consumer-, privacy-, health-, and child-advocacy groups are calling on Facebook to provide privacy and marketing safeguards if it opens the social-networking service to children under 13. Our recent survey projected that more than 5.6 million children under the age of 13 already have Facebook accounts, in violation of Facebook’s current policy of barring preteens. Once children have registered for accounts with false birthdays, the site treats them as teens or adults, depending on their stated age, and subjects them to the same data collection and marketing practices used to target older users

The best reason to use a smart phone to take photos instead of a camera is that you’re more likely to have your smart phone with you when a photo op arises.

Facebook Camera for iPhone was announced and launched just a few weeks after the social network purchased the similar Instagram app, which hasn’t (yet) been more fully integrated into core FB functionality. Here’s a hands-on look at this relatively recent app

Reports began to surface earlier today that 6.5 million passwords that appear to be from popular social-networking site LinkedIn had shown up online, in an encrypted form, —apparently posted by a hacker who was asking for help in deciphering them. An additional 1.5 million of these encrypted “hashes” appear to be passwords for dating site eHarmony, according to Ars Technica. LinkedIn confirmed on its blog that “some of the passwords that were compromised correspond to LinkedIn accounts” and that it is continuing to investigate

Consumer Reports recently released the results of a survey that indicated at least 5.6 million children using Facebook were younger than age 13, in violation of the site’s terms (that’s down from 7.5 million in last year’s survey).

Beware of Facebook Timeline removal tools


There could be a security risk with Facebook’s Timeline, the graphic and chronological interface the social-media giant is rolling out to Facebook subscribers. Suspicious online tools and websites purporting to be Timeline-removal aids could be putting millions of Facebook users in digital danger, warns one online security expert. Graham Cluely, a senior technology consultant at Sophos, a global online security firm in Abingdon, England, notes that websites are targeting Facebook members who strongly dislike the Timeline interface

“Privacy and cybersecurity are not well understood by the news media or politicians,” declared Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist and a CR board member), who keynoted a panel discussion hosted by Consumer Reports at New York University last night: “Facebook and your privacy: What Every Consumer Should Know in the Age of Social Networking.” There are real problems,” noted Newmark, adding that “the Internet has no lobby.” He pledged to take a more active role on behalf of consumers. “A nerd’s gotta do what a nerd’s gotta do,” he said. Following on the heels of Consumer Reports’ recent ” Facebook and your privacy ” story, the panel included a diverse group of speakers from both business and consumer advocacy

Facebook has sometimes come under fire for its privacy policies and practices. But today, the social media giant issued a statement in in defense of privacy, opposing employers’ asking employees and job applicants for their Facebook passwords.

Panasonic reveals new TV prices, availability


Panasonic announced its first wave of 2012 HDTVs , which include a new XT50 series of lower-cost 3D plasma sets, and larger screen sizes—47 and 55 inches—in its LCD TV lineup. Panasonic is also offering passive 3D technology in its LCD sets for the first time. Pricing for other models, including the company’s flagship VT50 series 3D plasma TVs, will be announced closer to availability, the company said

Following on the heels of reports that smart-device apps have the ability to grab people’s personal photos without their knowledge, NY state senator Charles E. Schumer says that Apple and Google have agreed to meet with to discuss a way to prevent this. “Developers who make applications for Apple iOS devices have access to a person’s entire photo library as long as that person allows the app to use location data,” according to the New York Times .