Wednesday May 22, 2019
Home Lead Story Facebook Coll...

Facebook Collects Information of 6 Lakh Canadian Citizens, Breaks Privacy Laws

"Facebook's refusal to act responsibly is deeply troubling given the vast amount of sensitive personal information users have entrusted to this company," said Therrien

0
//
facebook, canada privacy laws
Canada's Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien takes part in a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, April 25, 2019. VOA

Facebook Inc broke Canadian privacy laws when it collected the information of some 600,000 citizens, a top watchdog said on Thursday, pledging to seek a court order to force the social media giant to change its practices.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien made his comments while releasing the results of an investigation, opened a year ago, into a data sharing scandal involving Facebook and the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Though Facebook has acknowledged a “major breach of trust” in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company disputed the results of the Canadian probe, Therrien said.

“Facebook’s refusal to act responsibly is deeply troubling given the vast amount of sensitive personal information users have entrusted to this company,” said Therrien. Specifically, the company refused to voluntarily submit to audits of its privacy policies and practices over the next five years, he said.

facebook, canada privacy laws
Though Facebook has acknowledged a “major breach of trust” in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company disputed the results of the Canadian probe, Therrien said. Pixabay

“The stark contradiction between Facebook’s public promises to mend its ways on privacy and its refusal to address the serious problems we’ve identified “or even acknowledge that it broke the law ” is extremely concerning,” he added.

Facebook was not immediately available for comment. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner does not have the power to levy financial penalties, but it can seek court orders to force an entity to follow its recommendations. It could take a year to obtain a court order, Therrien said.

The investigation revealed there was an “overall lack of responsibility” with people’s personal information that means “there is a high risk that” their data “could be used in ways that they do not know or suspect, exposing them to potential harms.”

Apart from privacy violations by Facebook, the investigation also highlighted problems with regulating social media. Facebook’s rejection of the watchdog’s recommendations revealed “critical weaknesses” in the current legislation, Therrien added, urging lawmakers to give his office more sanctioning power.

canada privacy laws, facebook
Apart from privacy violations by Facebook, the investigation also highlighted problems with regulating social media. Pixabay

“We should not count on all companies to act responsibility and therefore a new law should ensure a third party, a regulator, holds companies responsible,” Therrien said.

ALSO READ: Amazon Plans to Deliver Packages to Prime Members Around the Globe

Canadian Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould, who this month said the government might have to regulate Facebook and other social media companies unless they did more to help combat foreign meddling in this October’s election, will react later on Thursday, a spokeswoman said.

Facebook said on Wednesday it had set aside $3 billion to cover a settlement with U.S. regulators probing revelations that the company had inappropriately shared information belonging to 87 million of its users with Cambridge Analytica. (VOA)

Next Story

Political Ad Spend Hits Rs 27.7 cr on Facebook as Polls End

Facebook had said that it was removing 10 lakh fake accounts a day in India

0
Facebook, photos
This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, political parties in India spent a total of Rs 27.73 crore on Facebook for posting political ads on the platform as the seven-phase general election ended on May 19.

From February 19 to May 19, political parties posted 124,094 ads on Facebook to reach out to their audiences, showed the latest data on Facebook Ad Library for India.

On Facebook, the BJP alone spent more than Rs 4 crore – 200 per cent more than the Congress which spend about Rs 1.8 crore.

Other big spenders were regional parties such as the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the YSR Congress and Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

Facebook’s Ad Library, a searchable database, includes ads related to politics and issues of national importance run on Facebook or Instagram.

facebook, iphone, new york
FILE – The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Supporters and affiliates of political parties account for most of the spending on the social media platforms.

The Election Commission of India has announced that among the posts taken down by various social media platforms, Facebook took down 650 posts.

Also Read- Nokia Launches Nokia 3.2 in India

Of the posts taken down by Facebook, 482 were political posts during the “silence period” – 48 hours prior to polling, 73 political ads during the silence period, two violations of the Model Code of Conduct, 43 cases of voter misinformation, 28 were against public morality and decency, 11 were exit polls, and 11 were related to hate speech and undue influence.

Facebook had said that it was removing 10 lakh fake accounts a day in India. (IANS)