FTC, Irish Data Protection Commissioner Probe Facebook Over Privacy Concerns
September 30, 2011 12:14 PM
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.
The Irish data protection commissioner received
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.
"This is about the Internet. Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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