Canada stands up for privacy rights of Facebook users

The Canadians for once seem to have influenced changes on Facebook that’s going to benefit users worldwide. Applying their Canadian Privacy laws, Canada has had Facebook to take steps to counter the loopholes that compromise its user’s privacies. Here’s a list of alterations that we will soon be seeing being incorporated by Facebook and also other fixes that need attention.

Third-Party Data Mining

Canada’s Concern: The thousands of third party applications on Facebook all seem to always have the same trademark request to access all data on a user’s profile but what’s not clear is what information are these applications actually accessing or if this access is actually bona and relevant for the running of the application or if otherwise, are they being misused by the developers.

The fix: The problem seems to have been fixed quite efficiently with the applications now requiring to list out the data that it will be accessing on your profile along with check boxes that determine what they are allowed to use and what not. The developers will also need to specify the purpose of the access to the personal information and in what ways the application will be using the information that’s being accessed

Account deactivation and Deletion.

Canada’s Concern: It has always been an element of concern for users on what happens to their personal data once they deactivate their accounts and some even receive a rude shock when they notice on reactivation that all data that they previously loaded still exists on the Facebook servers.  There has always been a requirement for ‘deletion’ of the account which means to wipe clean all traces of activity and personal data if and when a user wishes to do so.

The fix: Facebook users can now additionally choose to delete their accounts after deactivation which means all traces of their personal information will be wiped clean off the Facebook servers. Quite handy when a person wants to rest for a while and doesn’t intend to return anytime soon or wants to start afresh.

Privacy of the departed souls

Canada’s Concern: What happens to a person’s account if he or she passes away? Presently the accounts in most cases are being turned into a virtual memorial with people posting condolence messages and other such last rites being performed on the account. You may want it or you may not but you don’t seem to have a choice.

The Fix: Facebook will now declare on its privacy statement what exactly is to happen of your account in the event that you kick the bucket or otherwise become incapable of using the account.

Privacy of those that aren’t a part of Facebook

Canada’s concern:  Whether or not you are an avid fan of Facebook, there seem to be instances when the servers may still have your e-mail addresses stored. Not fair for those who are anti-Facebook. The concerns here are quite justified seeing as if you are not a user, then Facebook should technically have no right to store your data.

The Fix: Facebook has promised to update its service statements regarding the usage of personal data of those that are not a part of its network apart from declaring that they do not by themselves store any data or lists of e-mail addresses or invites that have been sent to people who have not been interested in being a part of the Facebook network.

The remainder of the unaddressed concerns

Privacy rules seem to continually drag Facebook into the court scene with the US Electronic Privacy Information Center filing a federal complaint on the usage rights of Facebook of the information that its users put up online. Facebook’s listing of your profile on public searches or tagging of a photo which does not require the user’s permission seem to be on the top of the agenda of EPIC among other such complaints and concerns.

Canada seems to have surely left a mark but there’s a lot more to be done for optimum maintenance of privacy.

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