/ June 12, 2008

Facebook an Invasion of Privacy, Eh?

The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, a group of pro-privacy advocates, has filed a complaint with the Canadian Office of the Privacy Commissioner against the Facebook, arguing that the website violates Canada’s privacy laws. The group has lodged its complaint publicly, arguing that in past interactions with the Facebook, little progress had been made in private. While Facebook has a reputation for being more intimate than sites like MySpace, the clinic chose to focus on Facebook’s infringements because it is the most popular social networking website in Canada.

Facebook only allows users to view the full profiles of their confirmed “friends.” Users can also control their privacy settings manually, allowing only certain friends to view their pictures or “wall” (where friends can post messages or pictures). The clinic, however, argues that many younger members may either be unaware of these controls, or do not appreciate the sensitivity of posting personal information on the web. Facebook, in response, states:

“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.”

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