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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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Facebook to Launch its Cryptocurrency Next Year: Report

According to Zuckerberg, Blockchain could give users more powers when granting data access to third-party apps

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Facebook, data,photos
A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is gearing up to launch its own cryptocurrency next year, the BBC reported on Friday.

Called “GlobalCoin,” the cryptocurrency would work with a new digital payments system in about a dozen countries starting in the first quarter of 2020.

Facebook has been in contact with US and British financial regulators to launch it.

According to the BBC, Facebook is in touch with “Bank of England governor Mark Carney and officials at the US Treasury”.

With over two billion users across its platforms, Facebook could emulate WeChat in China which allows its users to chat, shop and play games without leaving its platform.

The Facebook cryptocurrency would need to overcome numerous technical and regulatory hurdles before it can be launched.

According to media reports, the Facebook currency could be designed to be a “stablecoin” with a value pegged to US currency in an attempt to minimize volatility.

A report last week said Facebook has reportedly set up a company called Libra Networks in Switzerland that is developing payments and Blockchain systems for the social networking giant.

virtual currencies, bitcoin, investors
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. Wikimedia Commons

According to a report in CNET quoting Swiss publication Handelszeitung, the Facebook cyrptocurrency would be tied to the US dollar and could, therefore, remain stable unlike Bitcoin which has crashed.

“Facebook set up Libra Networks in Geneva several weeks ago. Libra is the social network’s internal project name for the digital currency,” the report said.

The Swiss company would focus on developing the software and hardware for currency-related functions like payments, Blockchain, analytics, big data and identity management.

Facebook declined to comment on the new report.

Also Read- Microsoft Interns Make English Learning App

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, the social media giant is “recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants” towards its cryptocurrency-based system that would use a digital coin similar to Bitcoin.

The New York Times reported in February that Facebook had a team of 50 people working on its virtual currency project.

In a public interview with Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain in February, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he is “potentially interested” in putting the Facebook login on the Blockchain technology.

According to Zuckerberg, Blockchain could give users more powers when granting data access to third-party apps. (IANS)