Report claims Facebook runs afoul of Belgian privacy laws
Facebook's recently updated terms of service violate European laws governing the use of consumer data, according to a report commissioned by the Belgian privacy commission, even though concerns about the company's data practices have been raised since at least 2013.
The report criticizes many of Facebook's practices, from the use of consumer data to inform third-party advertisements to the lack of easily-understood privacy controls, and says the revised terms of service merely change the language used to violate European privacy laws.
Here's what the report says about Facebook's data collection:
Facebook combines data from an increasingly wide variety of sources (e.g., Instagram, [WhatsApp] and data brokers). By combining information from these sources, Facebook gains a deeper and more detailed profile of its users. Facebook only offers an opt-out system for its users in relation to profiling for third-party advertising purposes. The current practice does not meet the requirements for legally valid consent.And here's what it says about Facebook's privacy settings:
According to the Article 29 Working Part, consent cannot be inferred from the data subject’s inaction with regard to [behavioral] marketing. As a result, Facebook’s opt-out system for advertising does not meet the requirements for legally valid consent. In addition, opt-outs for “Sponsored Stories” or collection of location data are simply not provided.Finally, here's its conclusion about Facebook's respect for its users' rights:
[illustration by Brad Jonas]