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By Bruce Sussman
Fri | Apr 26, 2019 | 8:33 AM PDT

Canada's Office of the Privacy Commissioner says Facebook is a perfect example of what's wrong with Canadian privacy laws.

His office found Facebook violated privacy laws in several ways. However, Facebook dismissed the findings, and there's not much the Commissioner's office can do about it.

Except what is happening now, which is threatening to take Facebook to court—and to use the case to push for tighter privacy regulations that create meaningful fines and sanctions.

The headline from the Commissioner's office did not hold back when explaining how the social media giant ignored Canadian law: 

"Facebook refuses to address serious privacy deficiencies despite public apologies for breach of trust.”

And the Privacy Commissioner himself, Daniel Therrien, put it like this:

“Their privacy framework was empty, and their vague terms were so elastic that they were not meaningful for privacy protection."

Also, Canada's national investigation of Facebook was aided by privacy officials in British Columbia. 

“Facebook has spent more than a decade expressing contrition for its actions and avowing its commitment to people’s privacy,” B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner Michael McEvoy says, “but when it comes to taking concrete actions needed to fix transgressions they demonstrate disregard.”

These comments remind us of the sign that members of the U.S. Congress held up when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifiedThe sign listed several previous apologies for mistakes by the company as lawmakers questioned his sincerity.


What is Facebook accused of in Canada?

Canada's Privacy Commissioner says Facebook violated privacy laws in several ways:

  • Unauthorized access to user data
  • Lack of meaningful consent from "friends of friends" feature
  • No proper oversight of privacy practice of apps
  • An overall lack of responsibility for personal information

Canadian privacy czar taking Facebook to court

“It is untenable that organizations are allowed to reject my office’s legal findings as mere opinions,” says Commissioner Therrien.

That's what he believes Facebook has done because Canadian privacy laws he has at his disposal lack teeth.

As a result, the Commissioner says he will now take Facebook to Federal Court to force the company to change its practices in Canada. 

We'll let you know if things change before SecureWorld Toronto happens in 2020, but we won't hold our breath on that one.

The wheels of justice turn slowly.

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Tags: Facebook, Privacy,