Blame Canada! Facebook Face Privacy Questions

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Right, now that we’ve got that fantastic little number from the South Park movie dancing around your head, time to tell you the full story. It seems that Canada’s privacy commissioner is starting a probe into Facebook’s practices following a series of complaints about the privacy policies of the site.

Facebook employees make their feelings known.

The BBC report that the complaints concern a tool that Facebook introduced in late 2009 that makes users of the site review their privacy settings. The complaint alleges that the tool makes it harder for Facebook users to manage who sees personal information, something which a friend of ours was complaining about only last night (only they used more four-letter words and moved the discussion on to ‘that bloody Turbidy’ afterwards).

Elizabeth Denham, Canadian assistant privacy commissioner released a statement saying, “Some Facebook users are disappointed by certain changes being made to the site – changes that were supposed to strengthen their privacy and the protection of their personal information.”

The changes to privacy settings that Facebook introduced in December 2009 were partly in response to a previous investigation by Canada’s information commissioner into how the site treats personal data. Following its initial investigation, the Canadian commissioner said Facebook should give members more control over who can see and search for status updates and details such as birthday dates.

Reports the BBC, “In response, Facebook said the changes it had introduced were easy to understand and lawful. It added that it had made unprecedented efforts to educate users about the changes and their consequences.

“Any recommended changes to a user’s privacy settings were clearly shown to the user repeatedly and were not implemented until the user accepted these changes,” said Barry Schnitt, Facebook spokesman.

What do you think folks? Facebook getting a little too open? Or is this just a case of cranky Canucks?

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