Facebook's official response to their alleged breach of Canadian privacy law

Facebook Shortly after the Privacy Commissioner's Office in Ottawa announced their findings yesterday, Facebook issued an official response as a press release. Here's what they said.

TORONTO, July 16 /CNW/ – Facebook is pleased that the Canadian Federal
Privacy Commissioner has dismissed most of the inaccurate claims brought by
CIPPIC, and that we were able to collaboratively resolve other issues raised
in the complaint.

     The Commissioner also recognised, as we do, that privacy and user control
on the social web is a new area, which requires websites, users and data
protection authorities to work together. Without question, Facebook and the
Canadian Privacy Commissioner's Office share the common goal of making the
Internet more privacy friendly for Canadians and users across the world.

     We are also pleased that the Commission has recognized the fact that
Facebook provides significantly greater protection of users' interests than
most websites and commended Facebook for providing its users with extensive
privacy settings. Facebook has made privacy a core part of its business, and
is the industry leader in developing and deploying privacy tools and
advocating their use. We believe that the very reason Facebook is popular in
Canada is because the site offers people a way to share information, enables
them to chose what information they share with whom, and is very easy to use.

     As part of our continued leadership in developing privacy tools that
advance user control over their information, Facebook will soon be introducing
a number of new additional privacy features to its service that we believe
will keep the site at the forefront of user privacy and address any remaining
concerns the Commission may have. In the meantime, we will also continue our
efforts to work with the Canadian Federal Privacy Commissioner to address the
outstanding areas highlighted in the report and will continue our efforts to
raise awareness of the privacy controls on Facebook.

Do you feel that Facebook's response is an appropriate reaction to the Privacy Commissioner's charges?




  1. Mac

    So this is what happens when Facebook denies you access. As most of you can remember, a while back before the Nickname fad started on Facebook, Facebook started going through names and deciding which names they liked and which they didn't. CNN did a report on this. If Facebook didn't like your name, they then deactivated your account, refused access to the account and DEMANDED that you send them a copy of your GOVERNMENT ID, Driver's license, birth certificate etc. Now sadly some people actually did that. Personally I felt it to be discrimination as they do not demand ID and proof of names from everyone that joins Facebook. Some people started deliberately misspelling their names or adding letters to their names and some just created new accounts under very common names like Smith, Jones etc. Certainly there are a lot of people with names that may seem strange or peculiar to some but that does not make them any less valid. i.e. Elijah Blue Allman.
    If a person refused to provide the demanded Government ID, Facebook simply refused access to the account and refused to delete the account or the information associated with the account.
    So, it's not only a matter of deleting your own account, or being unable to access the account to delete the account, there is also the issue of the discrimination and of Facebook deactivating an account and then refusing the account holder to access the account to delete the account. It does make one wonder why they demand ID from some people, refuse access to an account, refuse to delete the account, retain your information indefinitely on their servers and are discriminatory based on names alone. Facebook has questions to answer. It is proper that the Canadian Government is going to make them accountable for the infringment and mishandling of privacy of it's citizens.
    It amuses me that this same SOCIAL NETWORK has aspirations of handling finances in the future or has areas where one can insert credit card information. I'm thinking that an unwise endeavour and only for the weak minded who like to be manipulated by a SOCIAL NETWORK.


  2. Mac

    Excerpt from email correspondence from a Facebook representative when they deactivated an account due to "not liking the name" and refused access to the account.

    *When an account is disabled, the profile and all information associated with it are immediately made inaccessible to other Facebook users. What this means is that you effectively disappear from the Facebook service. In addition, Facebook does not use information associated with disabled accounts.
    Unfortunately, for safety and security reasons, we cannot delete from our servers information associated with disabled accounts. We also cannot grant you access to a disabled account to retrieve content from it, nor can we provide you with any content that was associated with this account. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. This decision is final.*
    Now I'm thinking that they may think that the decision is final, but perhaps the Canadian Government will have the last say.
    When queried as to what the safety and security concerns were Facebook was unresponsive.
    It's one thing for an individual to deactivate an account for use later and retain the right to access that account, it's quite another thing for Facebook to deactivate an account, deny access and retain all the information associated with the Facebook deactivated account on their servers.
    Not only are they discriminating but indeed they infringe on privacy.
    What would happen if tomorrow Facebook decided that THEY would DEACTIVATE all accounts? And refuse access? What would happen with your information then? And why in the world do they feel a need to retain it? Who are they keeping if for and sharing it with?
    I do hope the Canadian Government deals with the issue of Facebook deactivated accounts and the information retain on those accounts.
    You'll notice that Facebook states that the information is inaccessible to other Facebook users… not to everyone, but just to other Facebook users. Disturbing indeed!


  3. You control your own actions

    It is as simple as this: everyone on this planet (with the exception of the mentally incabable) is in charge of his or her own actions. Dont post stupid/embarrassing/career damaging/relationship damaging things to the WORLD WIDE WEB you wouldnt want everyone in the world to see. Keep it simple stupid- what is wrong with everyone's common sense? No one is forced to join facebook- if you dont like it, lump it…or certianly dont join, thoughtlessly click "I agree" to their terms and agreements then bitch about them later.


  4. mitch allegheny

    And tell me again why we should listen to anything from a government organization allegedly pretending to protect its citizens?
    The corruption starts there – in government. When politicians give us a reason to actually trust them with our care and well being (not likely goiong to come from the group of corrupt dememted idiots currently in office) then maybe such a headline would have credibility.

    Mitch A.


  5. Mac

    Hmmmm… Is the point being missed? It's not a matter of sharing information. It's a matter of who, what and why that information is being shared. I don't think anyone joins and gives Facebook carte blanche to distribute their information to anyone and everyone. The person posting the information has or at least should be in control over who that information is shared with and for how long and what reasons.
    Further it's not a matter of joining, it's a matter of retention and distribution of information when a person decides to leave the Social Network. Again, they should have control over deleting their information, not having it retained and passed around for who knows what purposes… generally involving financial gain… or partnerships, like Polar Rose, purchasing applications, unauthorized contact, marketing etc.
    And of course, if you are Canadian and don't like the Canadian Government and the protections that it provides for it's citizens, there are other countries that perhaps would better suit a person.
    Although not all Governments are perfect, the Canadian government does a pretty good job of protecting and governing it's citizens and country. Hence the number of people that immigrate to Canada and become citizens every year. They have had a taste, sometimes more, of some of the available alternative governments and protections in other countries and for whatever their reasons, they find Canada a wonderful place to make their home and raise their families. Just saying, as pointed out, the choice is yours. Facebook or not… stay or leave… country of Canada or not… there are choices!


  6. Darcy

    My recent experience with Facebook has left me with a very bad taste. On the Facebook application Friend Facts or Friend Factiods, an ex-friend of mine had used my information as well as my childrens and friends information on a quiz which I found very degrading and disgusting when they started inplicating my children in sexual positions and predicaments.
    I filed complaints with Facebook as well as the Friend Facts application as well as the RCMP. Facebook says there is nothing they can do about it because the application is not theirs and I should file a complaint with them. I told the people at Facebook that the application was in violation of Facebook's own rules and regulations for third party applications and they should remove the application from their format.
    When I complained to Friend Facts application I got zero response and a couple days later a disclaimer shows up on their home page saying that everyting is for "Fun" purposes and should not be taken seriously. I'm thinking if you have someones first and last name implicated in a sexual position or being an animal abuser or a druggie its not funny anymore. It doesn't take very long to track someone down these days and predators frequently browse the social networks for victims. Facebook is the perfect thing for that, find where they live who their friends are and so on.
    We need more protection for the information we post online and we are trusting these people with our info. People steal pictures from Facebook and use them on dating sites. The pictures posted on Facebook should have a logo of Facebook somewhere on the picture so it cannot be used elsewhere.


  7. Deb

    First off, ALL applications inform you that they will take your profile info and use it across Facebook, it also informs you that Facebook is not the maker of the application.
    Therefore YOU are responsible for what you add and what you allow others to see.
    People need to take responsibility for their own actions.
    If you don't want your information stored then DON'T add the application simple, its not rocket science.


  8. Ihatefacebook

    Facebook is a waste of time, what was wrong with email? its the same thing just without a billions ads and junk.


    • Liam

      Web-based e-mail DOES have billions of ads, they just show one at a time so people can focus on the one they’re seeing at that point. And I can agree about it being a waste of time (I deleted my account because I never used it) – I found old friends from high school on there and they hardly ever had anything to say, and my other friends on there never talked much either (not to me, anyway). The only one that did knows my e-mail and cell number, and can come see me face-to-face anytime (met him that way in the first place). I know some like it, but I had no use for it anymore myself, especially with so many sites like it out there, some almost exactly the same (except for slight layout differences and different apps). Some of those have stuff Facebook couldn’t even figure out, and they get less use. LOL!


  9. me

    Ihatefacebook i can tell you've never been on it or you wouldnt be comparing email to it. Next time you feel the need to make a negative comment can you PLEASE try to have even a remote clue what your talking about.


  10. Anna

    I find it absurd that kids in elementary school are on Facebook. I realize that they fake their age but Facebook should address this issue and have their accounts deleted. I mean when they are posting pictures of their Grade 8 graduations, it must ring bells somewhere.


  11. albertapeanut

    And, of course, the possibility that some of the ADMIN of Facebook are involved in site manipulation, harassment or corruption…

    Never comes up, interestingly.

    Give the "don't use it if ya can't handle the consequences" speeches a rest….that's a tired cue card to read from.(who gave you that, BTW??)Oh, it's a secret??
    We all know not to post potentially embarassing or identity revealing information…..duhhhhhh.

    Much of what I see COULD NOT happen without the involvement of Admin at some level. No way.


  12. Prairie Topiary

    First, I think Mac's comment is dead on. If a Facebook user can consent to sharing their information, surely they can withdraw that consent.

    Second, not everyone who clicks that they consent button is an informed adult — many children have Facebook accounts. It's one thing to remind adults that they're responsible for informing themselves before agreeing to something. We don't hold children up to the same standard for obvious reasons.

    These things noted, I'm glad Facebook is taking a responsible and cooperative approach in response to the Privacy Commissioner's report and agreeing to address these issues head on.


  13. Lynda Dickson

    Yes I have an account on FB, but I am barely in it … once a week maybe if that.

    For the past 5 mths I have been with another Social Site, called HelloHello.net, and they are registered from Denmark, which have the strictest Privacy Act Laws anywhere in the world. In fact, they banned FB for the past 2 mths, at least this is what I have been told. The Danish people were complaining too much about the non privacy issues fm FB.

    At HelloHello.net you can do everything as you are doing presently at FB, MS, and Youtube, it is Free to sign up … and the best part, they pay us from the Ad Revenues. Come take a look ….


    Please request me as a Friend and let me know from where
    you signed up from.

    Thank You.
    Lynda Dickson


  14. candace

    well i think who ever uses facebook.. shouldnt put what they dont want the world to know up on facebook.. its common sence but i guess now days not alot of people have that much to begin with eh? it obviouse that what you dont want known dont put up.. and its that users fault if there privacy is known to the world..


  15. Liam

    Even though we all know government-types are full of it, the Better Business Bureau warns about social networking sites, saying Facebook is one of the worst, as they sell your personal information (even after telling you they won't) to third-party advertisers. But as far as the site's own applications, they can't get any info unless you allow them to get it, and two ways exist to keep your personal info safe from these apps: 1. Don't use the apps – when you first go to activate an app on your account, a page appears warning you that you'll be sending your info to the developer(s) of that app; 2. Limit what you post to "public knowledge" – things you don't mind the world knowing (what country you're in, your age, your interests such as video games or martial arts, etc.) can be posted, but posting personal/private info (home address, phone number) is NEVER a smart move on ANY website, as you're putting that information where the world can see it.


  16. Falderal

    If we found out the government was collecting and using our information in the same way as Facebook, there'd be protests in the streets.


  17. Chasen

    First of all … all they did was thank them and repeat what was said by the commission. The owner of facebook and all the application developers are all guilty Like the application developer for the private wall he collects pictres of girls then sends them an email to thier address. Believe me I have 3 emails from him alone. Daisy goes through everyones friends list and even sends out nasty messages that state you can not have that many friends. Ialso have proof ofthese in emails frm Daisy at FaceBook. So they do constantly access the information on the users. I deleted my account and couldnt be happier. Remember this guy Mark he Stole Face Book from his friend does the commission really believe FaceBook will be honest NO WAY besides doesnt anyone want a real friendship anymore? Cant we just go for coffee instead of sending a picture of one. Face Book took away reality and has allowed for many to cheat on spouses … I could go on but Im going to the coffee shop because like the rest of the NON facebook users WE have a life.


  18. Andrena LeBlanc

    It still does not answer the issue a hand. Facebook is way to easy to hack on to and anybody can access your information. If that does not change then Facebook will never be a safe site to use.


  19. Chasen

    The real Problem is anyone in FaceBook can be a developer of applicatons there for they have access to your infomation annnd if your an Idiot and use your credit card there well now all develoers have access to your Credit information. People from Nigria are using face book for more scams so the only way I can see it resolved is for each person in FaceBook to stop the whinning and complaining to the governemnt about things THEY THEMSELVES are responsible for . It asks and even says its sharing your infomation and yet the same complainers want the application and press the ok button and there goes your information down the sharing highway. Its crazy to think FaceBook has more addicts than drugs and alcohol do. I deleted my account from there I was only on for 6 months and found I had more fun in the real world.


  20. MJ

    Facebook at one point asked me if I wanted to add friends and gave me a suggested list. One of the names was that of someone not one of my friends NOT ONE OF THEM would know or ever have as a friend or contact…….!!!!!

    What terrified me was the fact that was on my hard drive only, no where else. How did they get it??????????????

    Can not find it on my Facebook site now but that was scary….


    • Liam

      They suggest friends at random, I think, as the same showed up for me several times (some being old friends from high school, so it kind of worked out). I think they use profile info (age, interests, schools, etc.) to match you up with those suggestions because of any similarity between the two profiles. I wouldn’t worry too much about that part of it, as it seems they use profile information and not something on your personal hard drive (unless you use software like GoToMyPC, which could allow them remote access to your computer).


  21. Kirsty

    dearnna mayes, you are not adding anything to the discussion why are you asking what someone is doing tonight? When this is a discussion about facebook? makes no sense