Facebook runs afoul of Canadian law: privacy czar; Findings set stage for

Greetings!  I’m Mark Micheau, manager of research and translation services at www.sterlingcreations.ca.
Today, I would like to give you a headsup of how Facebook has been accused of running into afoul with Canadian law.  Facebook is growing by leaps and bounds and it is only expected that incidents such as these will occur from time to time.
Please read on.
I wish you a pleasant day.
Facebook runs afoul of Canadian law: privacy czar; Findings set stage for
possible court showdown

Sarah Schmidt
Ottawa Citizen , July 17, 2009
Canada’s privacy commissioner ruled that Facebook violates the country’s
privacy laws, citing serious gaps in the way the popular social-networking
site treats its 12 million Canadian users.
If the California company doesn’t comply with Jennifer Stoddart’s directives
within 30 days, Facebook will likely be hauled to Federal Court to face a
judge with the power to order the company to implement the recommendations.
“It’s clear that privacy issues are a key concern for Facebook, and yet we
found some serious gaps. In some cases, Facebook must make changes to its
site to bring it into compliance with Canadian privacy law,” Stoddart said
at Thursday’s release of the investigative report, the result of the first
governmental investigation into Facebook and privacy issues.
The two sides, while offering conciliatory words about the process so far,
remain at odds over this basic point.
In an interview after the report was issued, Chris Kelly, Facebook’s chief
privacy officer, said the site is continually refining its privacy controls.
“Certainly we think that our approach right now is compliant with Canadian
law, and to the extent that we would need to establish that, we’re ready to
do that,” he said.
The probe began last year after the Canadian Internet Policy and Public
Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa filed an 11-part complaint,
alleging Facebook violated key provisions of Canada’s Personal Information
Protection and Electronic Documents Act, the country’s private-sector
privacy law.
While some portions of the complaint were tossed out, the report notes
Facebook has already changed certain practices and policies flagged by the
complaint to the satisfaction of the investigators, including instituting
new privacy settings.
But the report singles out outstanding problems the commissioner says put
the social-networking site at odds with Canada’s privacy law.
In addition to an “overarching” concern relating to the “confusing” or
“incomplete” way in which Facebook provides information to users about its
privacy practices, the report concluded Facebook’s policy to keep
indefinitely the personal information of people who have deactivated their
accounts is a violation of the privacy law.
But the biggest sticking point has to do with the practice of sharing users’
personal information with third-party developers that create Facebook
applications, such as games and quizzes.
“I want to underline that this is no trivial issue. There are close to a
million developers out there, scattered across some 180 countries,”
Elizabeth Denham, assistant privacy commissioner and lead investigator, told
On Thursday, Kelly said he looks forward to talks with the commissioner in
the next few weeks to try and resolve the matters.
“There are extensive controls in place, and I think that it’s unfortunate
that they haven’t been fully recognized in the report, but we have
confidence that we will get to a good place.”
But David Fewer, acting director of the University of Ottawa law clinic that
filed the complaint, anticipates a court battle over third-party
“Facebook can’t say the law is wrong here, or is being misinterpreted.
Instead, what they need to do is go back and re-engineer how they do
third-party apps. I think they rolled out third-party apps out without
figuring privacy obligations into the design. There was a fork in the road
early on in the design. They went left and they needed to go right. And left
is where the money tree is,” Fewer said.
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About Donna Jodhan

Donna Jodhan is an award winning blind author, advocate, sight loss coach, blogger, podcast commentator, and accessibility specialist.
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