Facebook privacy policy 'breaking EU law'

Facebook's revised data privacy policy is breaking European law, according to an analysis carried out by a Belgian privacy watchdog.

The report, which was carried out by ICRI/CIR (KU Leuven) and iMinds-SMIT on behalf of the Belgian Privacy Commission, says social media giant is breaking EU data protection laws on how it gathers data, what is done with this information and how people are kept informed.  In particular, the watchdog says that Facebook is failing to explain what it means when users are told their data will be used for “advertising purposes” as well as not allowing people to opt out of Sponsored Stories or location sharing.

The social network was also criticised for also placing “too much burden” on its users to navigate its “complex” settings.

Facebook drew up its new privacy policy and terms and conditions on January 30, but the report says that these were not drastic changes but rather the practices Facebook had been employing for some time. The company believes that it is accordance with the current legislation. "We're confident the updates comply with applicable laws," it added.

It is worth noting that the Commission itself has no sanctioning powers. If it does believe that this is a serious complaint, it can send on the dossier to Belgian's prosecutors' office.

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