European Data Protection Authorities Blast Facebook
The group of entities that have a problem with Facebook’s privacy policies has grown again. Late yesterday, the Article 29 Working Party (which has quite a bit of pull in Europe) expressed its concerns over recent changes.
A little background first: the Article 29 Working Party "is composed of representatives from the national data protection authorities of the EU Member States, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Commission." So it’s very much an authoritative organization, not some ragtag group of paranoids.
As for what the Working Party had to say, its message was pretty harsh. "[I]t is unacceptable that the company fundamentally changed the default settings on its social-networking platform to the detriment of a user," the group declared in a statement.
The Working Party also said, "Providers of social networking sites should be aware that it would be a breach of data protection law if they use personal data of other individuals contained in a user profile for commercial purposes if these other individuals have not given their free and unambiguous consent."
Facebook’s obviously under quite a lot of pressure to make some changes and issue some apologies, then. Look for one or more big announcements to come out of the all-hands meeting that’s supposed to take place later today.