Regulators alerted Facebook about the problem shortly after the company announced major changes Wednesday in how it will treat users’ personal data, said Gary T. Davis, deputy data protection commissioner in Ireland. His office oversees Facebook operations for the European Union because the company’s European headquarters is in Dublin.
Max Schrems is the founder of Europe v. Facebook, a group seeking to have Facebook adhere to European privacy laws. Schrems discusses his path to starting the group when he requested his personal data file from Facebook and received an extensive 1,200-page file documenting very detailed elements of his life.
A 24-page NSA whitepaper describes the agency’s techniques for inferring relationships from location data.
Apple is launching its 12 Days of Gifts in the U.S. for the first time, handing out a dozen freebies to iOS7 users.
PostTV has incorporated technology that allows you to play any of our videos on your TV set through the popular Chromecast device. That means you can watch videos and news shows from The Washington Post and control the playback right from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
The proposed policy also drew criticism from American privacy advocates, who said that the changes would make more data available to advertisers without users’ explicit consent, in violation of last year’s consent decree between Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission. The agreement stemmed from complaints about the company’s handling of personal data.
“Facebook is not really telling users what this means and how this is going to work,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. His group is planning to join the Electronic Privacy Information Center in complaining to the FTC about the proposed Facebook policy changes. The agency declined to comment on Friday.
In Ireland, Davis expressed confidence that the company would make revisions giving European users the right to explicitly accept or reject data-sharing with affiliates such as Instagram. Facebook acquired the company for $1 billion in April, but it remains a separate legal entity.
“We’ve already engaged with Facebook,” Davis said. “We expect Facebook to be reverting [to previous policies] on these issues.”
When the changes to the policy were announced, public attention focused on a related shift that would eliminate a system allowing the company’s users to vote on proposed new policies. But Irish regulators were more concerned about how the company handles personal data.
Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in an e-mail on Friday: “As our company grows, we acquire businesses that become a legal part of our organization. Those companies sometimes operate as affiliates. We wanted to clarify that we will share information with our affiliates and vice versa to help improve our services and theirs.”