Facebook in trouble over privacy issues

Facebook, which agreed last August to implement new privacy safeguards ordered by Canada’s privacy commission, is again under investigation over its handling of users’ data.

By (Agencies)

Published: Fri 29 Jan 2010, 10:26 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:47 AM

The world’s biggest social networking site, which claims to have 350 million users worldwide, was hauled up before Canada’s Privacy Commission by Canadian law students in 2008 for violating the country’s privacy laws.

Indicting the networking site last August, the privacy commission had ordered Facebook to comply with its recommendations within a month.

Facebook had agreed to implement these recommendations to protect users’ privacy worldwide.

But a fresh complaint against Facebook alleges that a tool implemented by it in December makes users’ information even more readily available than before. In fact, its new default settings are a step backward, says the new complaint.

”The complaint focuses on a tool introduced by Facebook in mid-December 2009, which required users to review their privacy settings. The complainant alleges that the new default settings would have made his information more readily available than the settings he had previously put in place,” the Canadian privacy commission said in a statement Thursday.

”The individual’s complaint mirrors some of the concerns that our office has heard and expressed to Facebook in recent months,” Elizabeth Denham, assistant privacy commissioner who conducted the last investigation, said.

”Some Facebook users are disappointed by certain changes being made to the site - changes that were supposed to strengthen their privacy and the protection of their personal information,” she said.

Under broad recommendations enforced on it in August 2009, Facebook had agreed not to share personal information with third-party developers - roughly 950,000 in 180 countries - creating its applications such as games and quizzes.

Facebook was to complete implementation of these recommendations within a year. Reacting to the new complaint, Facebook spokeswoman Alex Brown maintained that “the transition process begun more than a month ago was transparent, consistent with user expectations and within the law.”

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