Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes
Activists claim Facebook not enacting DPC recommendations
Network accused of complying with data protection laws despite audit
TechLife | 04 Apr 2012 :
Privacy activists are alleging Facebook hasn't met a deadline set by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner to make changes to its privacy controls.
Europe v. Facebook, has led a campaign calling for more transparency in how Facebook handles data and alleges the social-networking site does not comply with European privacy and data handling regulations. They plan to complain to the European Commission in Brussels.
Europe v. Facebook contends the DPC, which released a critical audit in December analysing Facebook's privacy and data handling practices, is not properly enforcing data regulations and that Facebook isn't complying.
"We are curious if the European Commission will take on the case," the group said in a news release.
In its audit, the DPC made more than a dozen recommendations to Facebook on how it could improve its privacy protections and data handling. The social networking site agreed with most of the recommendations was supposed to implement some changes by end of last month and others later this year. A review of Facebook's efforts will take place this July.
In a statement, Facebook said it had implemented some of the recommendations ahead of schedule and expected to complete other ones due by the end of March in the coming weeks. The company said it has been in "constant dialog" with the DPC.
"Facebook Ireland is investing a huge amount of effort to ensure we are making progress against all of the commitments we made during the audit," the company said.
Among its list of complaints, Europe v. Facebook alleges that Facebook has still not provided 40,000 people a full accounting of the data it holds on them after those people requested the data. European law mandates that data controllers must show people the data they hold within 40 days of the request.
When activists with Europe v. Facebook began requesting copies of their personal data last year, the social networking site would in some cases provide an exhaustive CD worth of data.
As the group gained notoriety, more and more people requested their data, and Facebook warned it wouldn't be able to quickly provide it due to the volume of requests.
Subsequently, Facebook created a tool that lets users download information from their profile, which it contends complies with the law. But Europe v. Facebook said the download tool only grabs 22 of 84 categories of data that the site records, and that Facebook should disclose more.
IDG News Service