Facebook Faces Off With Belgian Privacy Commission Over Privacy Accusations
A new study calls Facebook's privacy and data collection policies into legal question but the social giant says the authors of the research never reached out to them.
A new study was commissioned by the Belgian Privacy Commission to take a deep dive into Facebook's privacy and data collection practices as they pertained to the laws of the EU. While the researchers weren't too thrilled with what they found, Facebook wasn't happy either.
The researchers hold that Facebook is collecting data from users who have logged out of their accounts or opted out of tracking altogether, monitoring them through the social buttons (social plug-ins) used to share third-party content, and placing cookies on users and non-users who visit websites that are owned by the facebook.com domain.
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Additionally, the researchers recommend that the social giant revise their policies to be more transparent about how it incorporates user-generated content for things like Social Ads and Sponsored Stories, as well as restricting user profile information "to self-selected contacts to self-selected contacts (i.e.., "Friends') by default. Users should be asked for permission before access is extended to any other entity."
Facebook defended its actions, telling Entrepreneur that it goes above and beyond to comply with opt-out requests.
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The spokesperson went on to say, "We're disappointed that the authors of this opinion and the Belgian DPA, who we understand commissioned it, have declined to meet with us or clarify the inaccurate information about this and other topics. We remain willing to engage with them and hope they will be prepared to correct their work in due course."
The research was conducted by a group of academics hailing from the department of Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and ICT/Centre for Intellectual Property Rights of KU Leuven, the department of Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
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