Facebook policy ‘disliked’
A data protection authority is “unliking” Facebook’s “Like” button. The state of Schleswig-Holstein’s data protection commissioner, Thilo Weichert, on Friday ordered state institutions to shut down the fan pages on the social networking site and remove the “Like” button from their Web sites, saying it leads to profiling that violates German and European law. Facebook insisted that is in full compliance with European data protection laws. Weichert issued a statement saying technical analysis by his office shows Facebook violated German and European data protection laws by passing content data to the social network’s servers in the US. “Whoever visits facebook.com or uses a plug-in must expect that he or she will be tracked by the company for two years,” Weichert said. A Facebook spokesman conceded that the company can see “information such as the IP address” of users who visit a site with a “Like” button.
Drug ring doctor arrested
A doctor who wrote nearly a million prescriptions for a popular painkiller last year has been charged in a strike against a ring that smuggled prescription drugs to Mexico from the US, according to an indictment obtained on Friday. The unusual operation brought a flood of yellow and blue hydrocodone tablets to Tijuana pharmacies, where American addicts snapped them up over the counter on jaunts across the border from San Diego, investigators said. Authorities speculate that it was easier for smugglers to unload large batches of pills at those loosely regulated pharmacies than to distribute them in small amounts through street dealers. It’s also profitable: A smuggler who buys a pill for about US$2 in the US can sell it to a Mexican pharmacy for about US$3.50, and the American addict pays about US$6 to bring it back home.
Prisons full to the brim
Prison population has hit a record high following the jailing of hundreds of people involved in the country’s recent riots, according to figures released on Friday. Prison officials said they were working hard to contain the flow of convicts. Statistics released by the Ministry of Justice showed that the total prison population in England and Wales has reached 86,654 — just 1,500 places below the operational capacity. Prison authorities said they faced an “unprecedented situation” and were working on emergency plans to boost capacity “should further pressure be placed on the prison estate.” The figures show that a net of 700 people have been added to the country’s prison system during the last seven days.
Hero says he is illegal alien
A man who chased down a suspected child abductor and saved a six-year-old girl from what could have been a horrible fate was honored as a hero on Friday. However, he is also gaining a new kind of celebrity: As a poster child of sorts for immigration rights in state and national immigration debates. Antonio Diaz Chacon, 23, is married to a US citizen and has been in the country for four years. However, Chacon says he abandoned attempts to get legal residency because the process was difficult and expensive. Diaz Chacon revealed his immigration status to Univision this week and confirmed that he is illegal, prompting chatter on the Internet and social networking sites that his case underscored immigrant rights positions in the ongoing political