Facebook privacy policy violates European law, says report


The world’s largest social network is under scrutiny from Belgium’s Privacy Commission, after a watchdog published a report saying that Facebook’s data policy and terms of service are illegal.

The report, which was carried out by the University of Leuven’s Centre of Interdisciplinary Law and ICT, claims that despite making a major update to the Facebook privacy policy in January, it is still in violation of European consumer protection law.

According to the authors of the report, Facebook’s policies with regards to profiling in order to display third party advertisements to users do not “meet the requirements for legally valid consent” and that it also “fails to offer adequate control mechanisms” to prevent the content of its users being used for commercial purposes.

The report goes onto say that “users do not receive adequate information” and that it isn’t clear what is meant when Facebook states that images may be used “for advertising purposes”.

The report also states that users have no way of stopping Facebook from collecting their location information via its smartphone app, other than turning off the location function in the operating system of their phone or tablet.

According to reports, Facebook met with the Belgian privacy minister to discuss the findings of the report, before claiming that its privacy policy is not in violation of data protection laws in Belgium.

Facebook then released the following statement in response to the findings of the report:

“We recently updated our terms and policies to make them more clear and concise, to reflect new product features and to highlight how we’re expanding people’s control over advertising,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “We’re confident the updates comply with applicable laws. As a company with international headquarters in Dublin, we routinely review product and policy updates including this one­ with our regulator, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, who oversees our compliance with the EU Data Protection Directive as implemented under Irish law.” ­

Source: The Guardian



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