Tech giants mark Data Privacy Day

Data privacy

A number of tech giants have jumped on the fourth annual Data Privacy Day to promote their security efforts.

Both Facebook and Google, two firms which have been under the security spotlight in recent times, have spoken out about what they have done to protect users.

The social networking giant announced a number of new features, adding the ability to experience Facebook entirely over HTTPS.

"You should consider enabling this option if you frequently use Facebook from public internet access points found at coffee shops, airports, libraries or schools," said Alex Rice, Facebook security engineer, in a blog post.

"The option will exist as part of our advanced security features, which you can find in the Account Security' section of the Account Settings page."

Rice noted loading encrypted pages took longer than standard pages, whilst a number of Facebook third-party apps did not have HTTPS support.

The company also talked up its "social authentication" protections.

"If we detect suspicious activity on your account, like if you logged in from California in the morning and then from Australia a few hours later, we may ask you to verify your identity so we can be sure your account hasn't been compromised," Rice said.

Facebook recently felt compelled to defend its security efforts after a report suggested it should follow Apple's "walled garden" approach to apps.

Google, meanwhile, was busy promoting its new Keep My Opt-Outs addition, enabling users to pull out of ad tracking cookies.

The company said it would be extending its two-step verification offering to all users in the coming weeks.

"Data Privacy Day 2011 reminds us that as industry and society are busy moving forward, we face new challenges that together we can tackle through conversation and innovation," said Alma Whitten, director of privacy, product and engineering at Google, in blog post.

"We're eager to be part of the solution."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.