ACLU dislikes Facebook Places

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California is apparently not a big fan of Facebook’s recently introduced geo-location app.

Indeed, the organization has expressed its concern over the allegedly inadequate privacy controls offered by Places.

“While [we] both agree that location information is very sensitive, we disagree that Places gives users adequate control of how and when to share this information,” ACLU spokesperson Nicole Ozer wrote in an official blog post.

“[Yes], we understand and appreciate the various privacy protections and options that are currently available to Places users. But there were some straightforward steps we highlighted to Facebook that they could have taken to improve the privacy features before launch.”

According to Ozer, steps to improve privacy should include:

  • Limiting the default visibility of check-ins on feeds to “Friends Only.”
  • Allowing users to customize their check-in privacy.
  • Providing notice to users each time they are checked in by a friend.

“We hope that Facebook will take the steps to easily remedy this by (a) providing a clear ‘Don’t Allow Check-Ins’ option when your friend first checks-in for you and (b) providing this same notice even if you already use Places yourself.

“[And] users should be clearly informed that, by joining Places, they most likely are also giving their friends’ apps access to their Places information. Users should also be given direct access to the control that allows them to choose whether or not to do so when they first join,” she added.