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Canada privacy commissioner launches new Facebook probe

[JURIST] The Canadian Office of the Privacy Commissioner [official website] announced Thursday that it would launch a new probe [new release] of Facebook [website] to investigate privacy issues in response to a recent complaint. Facebook's privacy tool, which it introduced in December, requires users to review their privacy settings. The complaint alleges that these default privacy settings "have made his information more readily available than the settings he had previously put in place." Elizabeth Denham [official profile], the assistant privacy commissioner who led last year's investigation, noted that the complaint reflected concerns currently held by the office and reported to Facebook in recent months.

In August, Facebook announced [press release; JURIST report] that it would give users more control over the private information they share through their profiles. The changes were announced after discussions with the Canadian privacy commissioner, who in July released a report [text, PDF] that was critical of Facebook's compliance with Canadian privacy laws. Also in August, five Facebook users filed suit [JURIST report] in a US federal court alleging that the site violates California privacy laws. In late July, Facebook announced it had corrected a loophole [CNET report] whereby users could see strangers' posted photos without those individuals' knowledge. In February, Facebook, facing a federal complaint [PC World report], reversed a change to its Terms of Use policy that gave Faceboook ownership of all information posted on a user's profile, even if the page were deleted.

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