A month ago, Canada’s privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddard announced that Facebook did not satisfy Canadian privacy law on several counts. After an investigation prompted by the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), Stoddard identified several areas where the company could better address privacy gaps for 12 million Canadian users (roughly 85% of Canadian netizens). The complaint raised concerns about “default privacy settings, collection and use of users’ personal information for advertising purposes, disclosure of users’ personal information to third-party application developers, and collection and use of non-users’ personal information.” The company was given 30 days to comply with recommendations and if Stoddard is not satisfied with Facebook’s response she can go to the Federal Courts for enforcement. Today is Facebook’s deadline.
According to CTV Toronto, Stoddard’s recommendations include “clarifying Facebook’s privacy policies, making it easier for users to remove their profiles and curbing the amount of personal information the site collects from its members.” Specifically, the service is being asked to disclose the amount of personal information made available to 3rd party app developers as well as the process of information disposal.
Acting Director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic David Fewer commented on the area of 3rd party application developers. Said Fewer, “We had a number of issues with this and so did the Privacy Commissioner. She was concerned about technological safeguards or their absence. She was concerned about Facebook taking steps to ensure that the 3rd party application developer only take the information they required. And we also had concerns about the clarity or degree to which the 3rd party application developer was accurately describing the personal information that they needed to provide the application.”
Facebook is expected to submit a proposal and timeline to Stoddard within the day. A full list of the CIPPIC’s 24 complaints and the Privacy Commissioner’s report is available here.
On a related note, the Associated Press just published an article regarding a California-based Facebook privacy lawsuit. It appears the company will have to address concerns on a number of fronts.
Photo Credit: Makaristos