A group of European data protection agencies – the Article 29 Working Party – recently joined the vociferous chorus of criticism against the social networking bigwig Facebook, saying that the most recent privacy changes introduced by Facebook may have breached European laws.
Article 29 Working Party, which had also earlier filed privacy rights complaints against Internet search giant Google, has particularly urged Facebook to implement a default ‘opt-in’ policy, so that the personal information of the users is not publicized without their consent.
Saying that Facebook should essentially restrict all personal data exposure only to user-selected contacts, the group, in its letter to Facebook, suggests that the social network should neither reveal any personal user information in search engines nor in any application, unless a user conclusively directs the site to do so.
Furthermore, the group also said that Facebook’s privacy policies which allow third-party applications to use information from the friends’ lists of the users also violate privacy laws, if Facebook has not received “free and unambiguous consent” of those friends for exposing their personal information.
Meanwhile, responding to the widespread criticism that Facebook is facing about its new policy changes and the perplexing ‘opt-out’ option, Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s VP for public policy, said: “We have tried to offer the most comprehensive and detailed controls and comprehensive and detailed information” about the new ‘opt-out’ settings.
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