Business Irish

Saturday 30 August 2014

Facebook faces major Irish privacy investigation

Roisin Burke

Published 04/09/2011 | 05:00

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Facebook faces a major probe by the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) following 'big brother' type privacy complaints.

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Facebook's Dublin HQ will be subject to a massive audit by the Irish watchdog after a group in Austria lodged 17 complaints, claiming that even after Facebookers delete information the social media giant's Dublin HQ keeps everything: data on who you've poked, tagged, 'liked', emailed, phone numbers -- even information on sexual orientation and political views. It can amount to thousands of pages of information about you, the group, called Europe Versus Facebook, asserts.

Every Facebook user outside the US and Canada is protected by Irish privacy law as the company's international headquarters is here.

"We will have to go and audit Facebook, go into the premises and go through in great detail every aspect of security," said a DPC spokesman. "It's a very significant, detailed and intense undertaking that will stretch over four or five days. Then we'll publish a detailed report and Facebook will respond."

Facebook's spokesman said that the company was co-operating with the DPC. "We are aware that some complaints have been made to the Irish DPC by individuals in Austria," he said.

Mark Zuckerberg's social networking colossus has in the past faced a slew of complaints from users about how it manages privacy settings.

"We've communicated with Facebook already and it is preparing responses on issues that have arisen on the complaints," the DPC added.

"We'll be looking in great detail at how data is handled and what actually happens to your information and whether any changes need to be made, or if people need to be made more aware of what is happening to their information."

Bono's private equity firm Elevation Partners is a major shareholder in the €100bn valued social media giant.

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