Facebook has defended its new in-store tracking partnership with Datalogix, which gives Facebook access to our offline shopping habits via our rewards cards, by explaining that it doesn't violate any Federal Trade Commission regulations. Facebook says it will anonymize the data and is only interested in showing advertisers how their ads are converting to new sales. But it led us to ask what exactly the FTC does protect in the data collection department. According to the social network, the hard-to-find opt-out link, which is located all the way over on the Datalogix website, clears the company of any privacy violations that might get the federal consumer protection agency involved. Considering how unclear that process is, we wondered how easy it is for a company like Facebook to gain access to our on- and offline buying habits. To get that answer we spoke with Ryan Calo, an affiliate scholar for the Center for Internet and Society and Assistant law professor at the University of Washington, who clued us in on what the FTC can and can't do about Facebook's new tracking program.
What kind of law does the FTC have in place to protect us from online data collection?
None. Zero. Zip. "There is no overarching law in the U.S. that says you have to do XYZ as a privacy matter," Calo told The Atlantic Wire.