Canada Says Facebook Breaks Privacy Laws

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2009 8:41 AM CDT
Canada's privacy commissioner says Facebook breaches Canadian law by keeping users personal information indefinitely after members close their accounts.    (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)
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(Newser) – Facebook suffers from "serious privacy gaps" and must become more transparent about how personal information is handled to comply with the law, says a government watchdog in Canada. The report by the country's privacy commissioner marks the first time a government has found Facebook to be acting illegally, reports the Financial Times. The commissioner's top concern: third-party applications that can access users' personal information without their knowledge.

The report also cites Facebook for retaining users' information after they delete their accounts and for archiving e-mail addresses of people invited to join by friends who later decline. Facebook has 30 days to make the suggested changes, or else the commissioner can take them to court. Canada has 12 million Facebook users—more than one in every three citizens has a profile.