4.0B: By Playing Farmville, You Consent To Having The Privacy Of Everyone You Know Torn To Shreds

Entirely appropriate illustration from Toothpaste For Dinner

Farmville and other games by Zynga, LOLapps, and other big names in social gaming collect your personal information – and the personal information of everyone on your friends list – and then turn around and sells it to data enrichment firms.

Yeah, this can’t be bad at all!

The most expansive use of Facebook user information uncovered by the Journal involved RapLeaf. The San Francisco company compiles and sells profiles of individuals based in part on their online activities.

The Journal found that some LOLapps applications, as well as the Family Tree application, were transmitting users’ Facebook ID numbers to RapLeaf. RapLeaf then linked those ID numbers to dossiers it had previously assembled on those individuals, according to RapLeaf. RapLeaf then embedded that information in an Internet-tracking file known as a “cookie.”

RapLeaf says it strips out the user’s name when it embeds the information in the cookie and shares that information for ad targeting. However, The Wall Street Journal found that RapLeaf transmitted Facebook user IDs to a dozen other advertising and data firms, including Google Inc.’s Invite Media.

RapLeaf also transmitted the Facebook IDs it obtained to a dozen other firms, the Journal found.

RapLeaf said that transmission was unintentional. “We didn’t do it on purpose,” said Joel Jewitt, vice president of business development for RapLeaf.

Well, as long as they didn’t mean it!

Is it just me who yearns for those halcyon, innocent days of three years ago or so when the worst moral challenges we faced in the online sphere were gold farmers sending you badly spelled IMs?

Because now it appears the sleaze is making more money than the games they leech from.

(Hat tip: Popehat)