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Facebook Investigated by Canada for Violation of Privacy Laws

News Flash: Canada’s federal privacy commissioner is investigating Facebook after four students complained it violates Canadian law by disclosing personal information to advertisers without proper consent.

The University of Ottawa law students, some of whom are dedicated Facebook users, allege in a complaint lodged Friday that the social networking Web site has committed 22 violations of the law.

“There’s definitely some significant shortcomings with Facebook’s privacy settings and with their ability to protect users,” said Harley Finkelstein, 24, one of the students behind the complaint.

Facebook has refuted the claims, saying that the complaint ignores key elements of the company’s policy.

“We’ve reviewed the complaint and found it has serious factual errors — most notably its neglect of the fact that almost all Facebook data is willingly shared by users,” Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly said Friday in an e-mail.

Source

Or in other words Facebook is pleading Caveat Emptor.

What’s to learn from this? Be careful … be very careful what information you disclose to Social Networks because nothing is private.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — Social Networks are NOT blogs. You have no control over your personal information or your content. They are for-profit corporate websites bent on using your info to make them money and they don’t give a hoot about your rights.

Written June 1st, 2008 by | 168 Comments | Filed under: Blog Ethics, MythBusters, News, Social Media Tips , ,

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There are 168 Comments so far to “Facebook Investigated by Canada for Violation of Privacy Laws”

  1. Oh boohoo are you kidding me? MySpace has been in and out of court since day 1 and not a damn thing happens.

    FACT: Anyone that puts any of their “classified” info on any site like that deserves to have it indexed by Google LOL.

    Dennis Edell’s last blog post..Opening Links: Same Window or New Window - Which Do YOU Prefer?

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 3:10 pm said...

    When it comes to big business the courts usually follow the money and screw joe public. It’s the great American way.

    Caveat Emptor!

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    Reply by: lady wolf at 5:43 pm said...

    @Dennis Edell, i was just blocked by facebook cause i used a nick name instead of giving my real name , so that i would be safe from ppl getting my information , face book needs to realize that some of us would rather not have our real names out there.

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 6:09 pm said...

    @lady wolf, I agree. Don’t fee so bad because Facebook and Google+ did the same thing to me. You’re in good company.

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    Reply by: lady wolf at 6:15 pm said...

    @BLOGBloke, it really sucks when you think of all the family connections you had, all the pictures you had on there and i was a player of farmville almost to lvl 100 such a bunch of bull

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 6:24 pm said...

    @lady wolf, on Facebook I just started a new account as The Blog Bloke. I’m still waiting for Google+ review. I refuse to give up my privacy just to use a stupid social network.

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    Reply by: lady wolf at 6:54 pm said...

    @BLOGBloke, i wont remake my account no sence in it to have them close it again

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  2. You’re right, the courts won’t do anything about that! Especially because Facebook can hire fancy lawyers who can pull something out of wherever to protect the corporation.

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 7:28 pm said...

    @Tim, I understand your frustration.

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  3. Good post. I gained alot. Blogging definately easiest way to get into the market.
    Could you write a little about Facebook
    because over 500M members. Your stay ontop of things here. Will return soon.

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  4. I was forced to use a website sold to a family by a government ministry, and which controls the vast majority of teacher applications to school boards across this country. The website is run as a family business and makes millions of dollors. It was sold in a very mysterious way to this family and nobody seems to care.

    They have more personal information including complete educational and employment histories, personal identification numbers and info going back years … decades … right to highschool … about thousands and thousands of teachers across this county than facebook or google has. I can’t apply for a teaching job with my local school board without using this private business website. I made a privacy complaint and was put through hell as the government agency denied the webiste falls within their jusrisdiction.

    Now they have finally made a ruling in the company’s favour but wihtout providing ‘disclosure’ to me. I am now forced to disclose more information to this website in order to apply for teaching jobs with my local school board and hundreds of other school boards across this country.

    I will be left vulnerable and violated without any recourse.

    Ironically, the same government ministry that sold this website to this family, also produced a research study which appears on their website that shows 55% of Canadians are extremely concerned about their online privacy.

    Jen

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