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Monday, June 2, 2008

Facebook Investigated By Canadian Regulator

The federal privacy commissioner, in Canada, has launched an investigation into Facebook after law students at the University of Ottawa complained that the site breaches Canadian law by disclosing personal information to advertisers prior to obtaining proper consent. "There's definitely some significant shortcomings with Facebook's privacy settings and with their ability to protect users," said Harley Finkelstein, one of the 4 students who initiated the complaint. The students believe that Facebook's practices are contrary to Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). "We've reviewed the complaint and found it has serious factual errors - most notably its neglect of the fact that almost all Facebook data is willingly shared by users," Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly said Friday in an e-mail. "The complaint also misinterprets PIPEDA in a manner that would effectively forbid voluntary online sharing of information." For the governments part "We take all complaints very seriously," said Anne-Marie Hayden, spokeswoman for the federal privacy commissioner's office. "We have no reason to believe that Facebook will not be co-operative."