Remember last December when Facebook agreed to change some of its data retention policies based on an audit by Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner? In internet years, which are kind of like dog years, those three months feel more like three years. However, one group astutely remembered that audit and some of the information within it regarding Facebook's deadlines to make those privacy changes. Now, the group is claiming that the social networking site has failed to keep up its end of the deal.
europe-v-facebook, a pro-transparency advocacy group in Europe, alleges that Facebook missed the deadline to make those changes and is calling for users to file complaints to the European Commission in Brussels in order to put the pressure on Facebook to make the changes it agreed upon.
According to the DPC's report, Facebook was given until the end of the first financial quarter of 2012 to make changes to user privacy and the site's data use policy. The changes would be meant to improve the understanding of the site's policies for users while also granting users the ability to make informed decisions with regard to how their information is used. However, europe-v-facebook is alleging that the end of first financial quarter for 2012 occurred on March 31st, which would indeed put the company past the deadline.
Going from the statement from Facebook's IPO filing, the company's financial year is on a quarterly schedule that would have seen the end of the first quarter on March 31st, which would validate europe-v-faceook's claims that Facebook did in fact miss the deadline to implement the changes to its privacy practices.
From a post via europe-v-facebook's site, the group claims to have been in contact with the DPC regarding Facebook's apparent lapse. "The Irish authority has told us in a phone call yesterday that they hope to find a solution with Facebook by the end of April," the update says. "There won’t be any consequences or penalties for breaching may aspects of the law and the deadlines set up by the authority."
When asked for comment, a spokesman from Facebook provided the following statement:
Facebook Ireland is investing a huge amount of effort to ensure we are making progress against all of the commitments we made during the audit. We have a constant dialogue with officials working for the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, who are responsible for overseeing the work we are undertaking, to reassure them of our progress. We recently reported to them that we have implemented some of their recommendations ahead of schedule and that we expect to meet all the Q1 aspirations over the coming weeks.