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    Bloomberg: Facebook’s Use of Cookies Raises German Regulators’ Suspicions

    Bloomberg News reports on privacy questions from German regulators concerning social-networking site Facebook:

    Facebook may be tracking the Internet activity of users even after they cancel their accounts, the German data privacy watchdog said Wednesday.

    After an investigation of the way cookies are installed after a user opens and then closes a Facebook account, the Hamburg Data Protection agency said on its Web site that it suspected the company was unlawfully tracking subscribers.

    “Arguments that all users have to remain recognizable after they leave Facebook to guarantee the service’s security can’t stand up,” Johannes Caspar, the agency’s head, said on the Web site. […]

    Cookies are created for each new Facebook user and some are maintained when a user leaves the service. The cookies are stored for two years and can clearly identify users during that time, the regulator said.

    The German regulator’s action adds to investigations of Facebook by the Irish data protection agency and the Norwegian privacy watchdog.

    A group of European Union regulators has said it will look for possible privacy violations in Facebook’s facial-recognition feature.

    Facebook, based in California, said in a statement that it “does not track users across the Web,” and uses cookies to personalize content or for safety and security reasons.

    The company said it deleted account-specific cookies when a user left Facebook and did not receive personally identifiable data when logged-out users browsed the Web.

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