Business, Technology Security

Facebook in trouble in Canada


An investigation of Facebook began due to complaints by the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) at the University of Ottawa. Thursday, Canada?s privacy commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, announced: "We found serious privacy gaps in the way the site operates."

The flack relates to Facebook not deleting personal information of people who have closed their accounts. The social networking application?s account settings lets users deactivate their accounts, but doesn?t show how to delete them, which would remove personal information from the site. Facebook defended itself saying that customers who deactivated their accounts often reactivated them, according to Reuters.

The investigation looked at 11 different aspects of the social networking site. The commissioner?s report indicated that Facebook?s practice is a violation of Canada?s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act [PIPEDA] law. Facebook did not agree with some of the commissioner?s findings, and will continue their dialogue. More than one in three Canadians use Facebook, thus the commissioner?s concerns about protecting her citizen?s privacy. She also voiced concern that unauthorized access to user?s personal information was possible by third party developers located across the world who make games and quizzes for Facebook. The investigative report states:

"Facebook lacks adequate safeguards to effectively restrict these outside developers from accessing profile information." 

Facebook is sitting up and paying attention to Stoddard who. is an Officer of Parliament and reports directly to the House of Commons and the Senate. Her recommendations could be enforced by Canada?s Federal court. The commissioner?s office urged Facebook to "implement all of our recommendations to further enhance their site, ensure they are in compliance with privacy law." Facebook indicated that some of the claims were "inaccurate" but also that it "will soon be introducing a number of new additional privacy features to its service that we believe will keep the site at the forefront of user privacy and address any remaining concerns the commission may have."