Facebook Sued For $138,000 For Keeping Deleted User Data
The world’s biggest social network is seen by many as arbitrary with how it handles user data and it appears Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) now shares the same sentiment. The only difference is that the DPC, unlike privacy advocates, have the force of law at his or her disposal and can order companies to pay fines. This is precisely what has occurred and the social network’s Ireland offices are being audited. If the authorities have their way, Facebook may have to pay out fines totaling$138,000.
The potential fine stems from a complaint made by an Austrian law student, Max Schrems, who asked Facebook for a backup of all his profile data. Facebook complied and sent him a CD copy of all his data. Mr Schrems then discovered that although his account was deleted, the profile data was still sitting on Facebook’s servers. Incensed, he formed an initiative called Europe V Facebook and proceeded to file over 22 individual complaints about the social network.
Those complaints gained the attention of Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, who has now ordered the audit. The slated date for the audit is sometime in December 2011 and Facebook is reportedly nervous about the possible outcome. Data Protection is a bigger issue in Europe than in North America and Facebook stands to lose ground in the European market if it doesn’t clean up its act.
I wonder if Google+ retains user data after accounts have been closed.
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