The Irish data protection commissioner is expected to begin the audit next month

Facebook has a pretty dirty record when it comes to privacy. Over the past few years, Facebook has prompted privacy anxieties by giving apps access to user phone numbers and addresses, harvesting and posting user info on torrent site The Pirate Bay, and launching a facial recognition tool that automatically recognizes people in pictures for photo tagging.

Now, Facebook will face an audit from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as well as an audit of its activities outside of the U.S. and Canada by the Irish data protection commissioner.

A 14-page letter from privacy groups such as the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action and EPIC urged the FTC to investigate Facebook's sharing of users' viewing and listening activities as well as the use of cookies to track users' browsing, even when logged out of Facebook.

The Irish data protection commissioner received 22 complaints from Austria-based privacy group Europe versus Facebook. Since Facebook's European headquarters are located in Dublin, those outside of the U.S. and Canada are dependent on Irish and European data protection legislation.

The complaints made by Europe versus Facebook were in regards to allegations that Facebook tracks and stores user information without their knowledge, does not delete personal information when it says it does, and utilizes facial recognition to violate users' privacy rights.

"This audit will examine the subject matter of the complaint but also will be more extensive and will seek to examine Facebook's compliance more generally with Irish data protection law," said Gary Davis, Irish deputy data protection commissioner.

"Facebook's European headquarters in Ireland manages the company's compliance with EU data protection law," said Facebook. "We are in regular dialogue with the Irish data protection commissioner and we look forward to demonstrating our commitment to the appropriate handling of user data as part of this routine audit."

The Irish data protection commissioner is expected to begin the audit next month.

Source: Financial Times

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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