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The Canadian Privacy Commissioner doesn't like Facebook (or its privacy settings at least)

This is a topic that’s a bit different from what I normally post, but as I’m Canadian, and as I use Facebook, and as this deals with Facebook and the Canadian Privacy Commissioner, I thought this was a pretty interesting story:

Canada’s privacy watchdog says Internet phenomenon Facebook breaches the law by keeping users’ personal information indefinitely – even after members close their accounts. Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart says the popular social networking site should hang on to the data only for as long as truly necessary.  She urged the site to remedy the privacy shortfalls, raising the possibility of legal action if it doesn’t comply. Facebook, which has nearly 12 million Canadian users, allows people to keep in touch with friends and family by updating their personal pages with fresh messages and photos… The privacy commissioner will review Facebook’s actions after 30 days to gauge progress. She can take the case to the Federal Court of Canada to have her recommendations enforced. “It’s discretionary. We’re very hopeful that things can be solved,” she said. “But we can go to Federal Court on a variety of things.”

I’d be interested to see what exactly she’d be taking Facebook to court over if they didn’t agree (breach of privacy laws, I’d presume) and what the Federal Court would do to order Facebook to comply with the privacy commissioner’s concerns if they found her complaints to be valid. Could they try to ban Facebook from Canada? Fine them perhaps? It will be an interesting case to watch, if it gets as far as Federal Court, and whether our privacy commissioner’s concerns will create a domino effect in other countries concerned about privacy matters with regards to Facebook.

2 comments to The Canadian Privacy Commissioner doesn’t like Facebook (or its privacy settings at least)

  • Kim Feraday

    I have to agree with CWTF. Given the many problems with the Government’s Do Not Call List, you’d think they would get their own house in order before going after anyone else.

  • CWTF

    Odd that she’d want to take on Facebook given that so many other firms are quite lax with privacy… Maybe she wants a little publicity.

    I can think of many egregious abuses of private information from private firms all the way to the Federal Government.
    Did Maclean’s not purchase her private cell phone number a few years ago – that is still quite possible to do. The “do not call” list is still a joke…

    Any FB developer will tell you that FB is quite lax with your private information.

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