The Canadian Privacy Commissioner has brought the US company to court after it refused to take measures to protect personal information following a probe that showed it virtually shunned responsibility over users’ data.
Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien now seeks Facebook to be declared in violation of Canada’s privacy law and legally obliged to rectify “major shortcomings” in its privacy practices.
The lawsuit filed with Canada’s Federal Court demands Facebook “implement effective, specific and easily accessible measures to obtain, and ensure it maintains, meaningful consent from all users.” It also seeks to bar the social media company from “further collecting, using and disclosing any personal information” in a way that violates Canada’s privacy law.
The US corporation expressed disappointment with the privacy watchdog’s decision to take legal action. The company’s spokesperson says that Facebook offered “measures that would go above and beyond what other companies do.”
The Privacy Commissioner’s Office apparently sees things differently, though. The whole case goes back to a yearlong investigation, of which results were revealed in April 2019. The probe itself was launched in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal in which the political consultancy group purchased user information obtained via Facebook and then used it for targeted political advertising in the US.
At that time, the watchdog said that there is a “stark contradiction between Facebook’s public promises to mend its ways on privacy and its refusal to address the serious problems.” They called the privacy scandal “extremely concerning.”
Now, it appears that the social media giant actually did not lift a finger to deal with issues outlined in the report. A statement on the Privacy Commissioner’s website says that Facebook “disputed the findings of the investigation and refused to implement recommendations to address the deficiencies identified.”
The court, however, cannot legally base its decision on the existing inquiry results and has to “deal with the matter completely afresh.” That means that the legal proceedings might take some time.
It would hardly be the first such lawsuit for Facebook, though, since the company already faced fines worth billions of dollars as well as legal action in a number of countries, including Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Brazil, and even the US.
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