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France orders Facebook to stop sending user data to US

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London: The French data protection authority asked Facebook, the social networking giant to stop sending user data to the US and follow the European data protection law.

According to a report in technology website Tech Crunch, the company has been given three months to make the changes deemed necessary by the data protection authority CNIL and failing to do so will incur heavy fines.

Specifically, the data protection agency is unhappy that FB collects the browsing activity of internet users who do not have a Facebook account.

“The company does not inform Internet users that it sets a cookie on their terminal when they visit a Facebook public page (page of a public event or of a friend). This cookie transmits to Facebook information relating to third-party websites offering Facebook plug-ins (e.g. Like button) that are visited by Internet users,” the CNIL notice read.

According to the notice, It collects user data concerning sexual orientation, religious and political views “without the explicit consent of account holders”. Nor does it inform users on the sign up form “with regard to their rights and the processing of their personal data”.

The company is also accused of using the now illegal “Safe Harbor” data transfer mechanism – a longstanding trans-Atlantic data transfer agreement that was invalidated by the European Court of Justice last year, the report added.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, “We are confident that we comply with European Data Protection law and look forward to engaging with the CNIL to respond to their concerns.”

According to CNIL, it has made its notice against FB public due to “the seriousness of the violations and the number of individuals concerned by the Facebook service”.

Facebook has more than 30 million users in France.

The social networking giant is facing several privacy-related probes in Europe.

In November, a Belgian court ordered the company to stop using cookies to track the web activity of its users.

As well as investigations by the French and Belgian authorities, it is also being probed by Spanish, Dutch and German (Hamburg) data protection authorities.(IANS)

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Meeting Between Members of European Parliament and Mark Zuckerberg to be Web Streamed

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Tajani had requested that Zuckerberg appear in front of members of the European Parliament in person in order to address the issue.
European Parliament members and Facebook CEO's meeting will be live streamed. Wikimedia commons

A meeting between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and members of the European Parliament (EP) over the social network’s use of personal data will be webstreamed, the Parliament’s President said on Monday.

The meeting, scheduled to take place on Tuesday, would be streamed over the Internet after Zuckerberg agreed to it, EP President Antonio Tajani said on Twitter.

“I am glad to announce that he has accepted this new request. Great news for EU citizens… I thank him for the respect shown towards EP,” Tajani said.

The meeting would take place a month-and-a-half after Zuckerberg testified before the US Congress over an alleged massive personal data leak to UK-based firm Cambridge Analytica.

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Tajani had requested that Zuckerberg appear in front of members of the European Parliament in person in order to address the issue.

“We are convinced that the millions of Europeans affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal deserve a full and thorough explanation from Facebook’s top manager, just as was the case for US citizens,” Tajani penned in a letter to Zuckerberg in April. (IANS)

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