Facebook Violates Canadian Privacy Law

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Facebook.com has serious privacy gaps according to a report by Canada’s privacy commissioner, Reuters says.

Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said that privacy information on the site was confusing and incomplete.

Some of Facebook’s violations as mentioned in the report are:

  • Retaining personal information of users who have deactivated their accounts.
  • Providing information on how to deactivate accounts, but not on how to delete accounts.
  • Disclosing users personal information to third-party developers. There are around 950,000 developers in 180 countries, Stoddart said via Reuters.

In response, Facebook said it retained personal information of users who deactivated their accounts only because half of those users usually reactivated the accounts.

Facebook objected to other conclusions on the report, but is co-operating with Stoddart and even resolved some of the issues. Stoddard said the matter would be escalated to Federal Court if all the violations were not dealt with in 30 days.

That would not be necessary, says Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Chris Kelly:

Reuters: “Given that we’ve had very productive conversations, I would be surprised if things move in that direction. Now, that being said, we don’t believe that there is any violation of Canadian law here and we think that a court would find that, were either party to go in that direction,” he said.

He also said Facebook did not want to end up with too many notifications interrupting users, and said any solutions should “reflect the fact that people come to Facebook to share information as opposed to hide it.”

Photo: Spencer E. Holtaway

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