Facebook Violates Canadian Privacy Law….That’s Not Good For Facebook

If you’re a Facebook user in Canada, you should pay attention to this story. According to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Facebook violates Canadian privacy law:

[Privacy Commissioner Jennifer] Stoddart said Facebook breaches federal privacy law by keeping users’ personal information indefinitely – even after members close their accounts.

She also raised concerns about the sharing of users’ files with the almost one million third-party developers scattered across the globe who create Facebook applications such as games and quizzes.

If Facebook doesn’t change things, it faces the threat of legal action. Facebook appears to be keen on avoiding that:

In a statement, Facebook said it would “soon be introducing a number of new additional privacy features” that will address any remaining concerns the privacy watchdog might have.

I wonder what soon means. I guess we’ll find out “soon.” But they haven’t agreed to everything:

The report recommends technological measures to ensure developers have access only to the user information actually required to run a specific application. It also says Facebook should prevent disclosure of personal information of any of the user’s friends who are not themselves signing up for the application, unless they consent.

Facebook hasn’t agreed to the recommendations on third-party access.

I’m guessing that’s because Facebook makes some cash off of third-party access to developers. Perhaps a facebook developer can fill in that blank.

I think this serves as a warning to users of social networking sites. You don’t know where your personal info goes or what might be done with it. Perhaps it might be a good idea to read the terms and conditions first before you sign up. That way you know what you’re getting into.

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