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Veto Beacon with Freakin Beacon Firefox extension



Facebook's Mark Zuckerburg has performed what seems to be a turnaround; Appologizing to Facebook users and returning Beacon to an opt-in, rather than opt-out-if-you-can system.

For the uninitiated, Facebook's Beacon has become the poster child for violation of internet privacy and for some, Beacon is the ultimate deal breaker for Facebook. Beacon is a tool for Facebook advertisers which allow the advertiser to publish what the user is doing to their Facebook account.

So say if you're purchasing a product or adding an item to a wish list, on let's say Overstock.com, you will get a Facebook pop-up informing you this action will be added to your Facebook feed. If you decline, the action isn't added, if you do nothing, it defaults to being added.

Adding to the upset and invasion of privacy factor, sometimes users don't get a pop-up, so their action is fed to their account by default and express permission or control is bypassed. Further, the information, regardless of whether the user declined to post or not, is still fed to Facebook from the advertiser. Maybe more ridiculous still, regardless of whether you have a Facebook account or not, the information is still provided to Facebook to do with whatever they please.

Even with today's mea culpa, you still don't get total blockage from Beacon. Despite clicking on the little box in the privacy settings, "Don't allow any websites to send stories to my profile," third party sites who've signed up will still be notify Facebook of your moves, which according to Facebook they won't store, creating a shadowy undercurrent of consumer information that may or may not be stored at its final destination. Thanks Facebook, that's nice, but what if you don't want to be recorded altogether?

To put the reins back in users control, Aaron Brazell of Technosailor has created a Firefox extension which puts a little icon in the status bar that lights up in blue when a user is on a page using Beacon technology. This little warning indicator helps give the consumer a choice as to whether or not they want to be spied on or click somewhere a little more private.

We feel better now, kinda.

Tags: anti privacy, Facebook beacon, Freakin Beacon Firefox extension

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