13 May 2010

EU - European data protection group faults Facebook for privacy setting change

(Article 29 Working Party)
The group of European data protection authorities has told Facebook in a letter that it is unacceptable that the company fundamentally changed the default settings on its social-networking platform to the detriment of a user. Facebook made the change only days after the company and other social networking sites providers participated at a hearing during the Article 29 Working Party’s plenary meeting in November 2009. The Article 29 Working Party, which held its 75th plenary session in Brussels on May 10 and 11, 2010, sent letters to 20 social network operators that have signed the Safer Networking Principles for the EU. The Working Party emphasised the need for a default setting in which access to the profile information and information about the connections of a user is limited to self-selected contacts. Any further access, such as by search engines, should be an explicit choice of the user. The letters also address the issue of third-party applications Providers of social network services should grant users a maximum of control about which profile data can be accessed by a third party application on a case-by-case basis. see also Facebook’s open disdain for privacy and Facebook faces fresh privacy criticism (FT), Facebook Executive Answers Reader Questions (New York Times).