Law Students File Privacy Complaint Against Facebook

The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, has filed a privacy complaint against Facebook. I’m not so sure how significant this really is since it appears to simply be a finding by a team of law students. The group of students analyzed the Facebook’s policies and practices as part of a clinic course this past winter and identified specific practices that appear to violate the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

As Facebook expands their global reach, they continue to face risk of violating international privacy laws as witnessed in this complaint. The complaint suggests that Facebook’s default settings are not strict enough and are set to enable users to share their information in most cases. One of the law students suggested that changing the privacy settings required a “high level of aptitude and experience with the site.” One law student even suggested that “Facebook is deceiving its users.”

Whether or not Facebook is clear enough with their intentions when users register is up for the Privacy Commissioner in Canada to render her findings within a year. Facebook recently agreed to strict privacy standards with the Pennsylvania Attorney General. This is only the beginning of the complaint. It appears that this was an educational case for the law students which may eventually result in actual action.