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Facebook vs. Canadian Privacy Laws

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Success breeds problems, as Facebook keeps finding out. The latest fire to flare up in its cyber kingdom is in Canada, where a privacy advocacy group, The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic has filed a complaint with the country’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner, alleging 22 breaches of privacy law by the social networking site, the BBC reports.

At its heart, the complaint claims that the company collects data on users without permission, as well as not telling them how the information is used, and not destroying information after an account is closed.
Clinic director Phillipa Lawson told the BBC,

"We chose to focus on Facebook because it is the most popular social networking site in Canada and because it appeals to young teens who may not appreciate the risks involved in exposing their personal details online."
In a paper running to 35 pages that was filed with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, who now has a year to act on the complaint, the Clinic identified specific practices that they say violate the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (Pipeda).

Facebook issued a statement in response:

"We pride ourselves on the industry leading controls we offer users over their private information. We believe that this is an important reason that nearly 40% of Canadians on the internet use our service. We’ve reviewed the complaint and found it has serious factual errors, most notably its neglect of the fact that almost all Facebook data is willingly shared by users.

"We look forward to working with Commissioner Stoddart to set the record straight and will continue our ongoing efforts to educate users and the public around privacy controls on Facebook, including a brochure and video project we have completed with Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian."

It’s not the first time Facebook has had to deal with privacy complaints, but earlier this year it brought in new tools to give users greater privacy control.

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