Rome: Bosses who use the social networking website Facebook, to spy on their employees at work, are not breaking the law, Italy’s Supreme Court has ruled.
The court ruling on Thursday was found to be in favour of a printer who fired a worker when the former caught him chatting with a woman, whose fake profile had been set up by the printer himself, on Facebook.
The sacked employee had spent 15 minutes chatting with the woman on his mobile using the Facebook Messenger app, failing meanwhile to fix a jam that had occurred in the printing works.
The printer was within his rights to set up the fake Facebook profile and dismiss the worker as it allowed “the check of continuous illegal behaviour, on the part of the employee, already observed in the past”, the court said.
It is also acceptable for employees to monitor workers’ use of Facebook from their mobile phones, the court ruled.
The worker had previously engaged in several conversations over Facebook during his working hours and an iPad was found on charge in his locker.
Facebook has suspended thousands of apps associated with nearly 400 developers for a variety of reasons, as it continues to investigate suspicious apps after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
The social networking giant said that it is not yet confirmed these apps were posing a threat to people.
“Many were not live but were still in their testing phase when we suspended them. It is not unusual for developers to have multiple test apps that never get rolled out.
“In many cases, the developers did not respond to our request for information so we suspended them, honouring our commitment to take action,” Facebook said in a blog post on Friday.
Facebook began its “App Developer Investigation” in March 2018 as part of its response to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
The company aimed to review all of the apps that had access to large amounts of information before it changed its platform policies in 2014.
“Our App Developer Investigation is by no means finished. But there is meaningful progress to report so far. To date, this investigation has addressed millions of apps,” Facebook said.
In a few cases, Facebook has banned some apps completely.
“That can happen for any number of reasons including inappropriately sharing data obtained from us, making data publicly available without protecting people’s identity or something else that was in clear violation of our policies,” the company said.
In May, Facebook filed a lawsuit in California against Rankwave, a South Korean data analytics company that failed to cooperate with its investigation.
“We’ve also taken legal action against developers in other contexts. For example, we filed an action against LionMobi and JediMobi, two companies that used their apps to infect users’ phones with malware in a profit-generating scheme,” it added.
Facebook has also removed a number of application programming interfaces (APIs), the channels that developers use to access various types of data.
“We have clarified that we can suspend or revoke a developer’s access to any API that it has not used in the past 90 days. And we will not allow apps on Facebook that request a disproportionate amount of information from users relative to the value they provide,” the company said. (IANS)