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Herald staff | jbauer@heraldnet.com
Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Privacy piracy

Here's one of my cat eating my lunch: Instagram, the Facebook app that allows users to take and share photos, is having to explain a proposal to sell users' photos to advertisers without compensation.

Instagram clarified that it would only use good photos, not the crappy shots most users take of their food and cats.

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Cookie monsters: The makers of cellphone games and other apps intended for children are balking at proposed privacy standards that would restrict the use of data-tracking files known as "cookies."

Fans of kids' literature and the book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie," know how the story goes: If you give an app permission to leave a cookie, it will want to track your Amazon purchases. Then it will suggest that others who bought "Harry Potter" books bought these items as well. And would you mind terribly if it used a photo you took to sell something to a friend? And if it sells something to a friend, it will want to leave a cookie with your friend.

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Don't know much about history: On this day in 1843, Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" was first published.

In an early draft, Ebenezer Scrooge was the CEO of a software development company intent on tracking and selling to advertisers the cellphone user data of the Cratchit family, especially Tiny Tim.

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