Activists Allege Facebook Dragging Its Feet on Privacy Changes

Privacy activists are alleging Facebook hasn't met a deadline set by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner to make changes to its privacy controls.

The group, Europe v. Facebook, has led a campaign calling for more transparency in how Facebook handles data and alleges the social-networking site does not comply with European privacy and data handling regulations. They plan to complain to the European Commission in Brussels.

Europe v. Facebook contends the Irish DPC, which released a critical audit in December analyzing Facebook's privacy and data handling practices, is not properly enforcing data regulations and that Facebook isn't complying.

"We are curious if the European Commission will take on the case," the group said in a news release.

In its audit, the Irish DPC made more than a dozen recommendations to Facebook on how it could improve its privacy protections and data handling. The social networking site agreed with most of the recommendations.

Facebook was supposed to implement some changes by end of last month and others later this year. The Irish DPC is scheduled to review Facebook's efforts in July.

Among its list of complaints, Europe v. Facebook alleges that Facebook has still not provided 40,000 people a full accounting of the data it holds on them after those people requested the data. European law mandates that data controllers must show people the data they hold within 40 days of the request.

When activists with Europe v. Facebook began requesting copies of their personal data last year, the social networking site would in some cases provide an exhaustive CD worth of data.

As the group gained notoriety, more and more people requested their data, and Facebook warned it wouldn't be able to quickly provide it due to the volume of requests.

Subsequently, Facebook created a tool that lets users download information from their profile, which it contends complies with the law. But Europe v. Facebook said the download tool only grabs 22 of 84 categories of data that the site records, and that Facebook should disclose more.

Facebook officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

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