The Telegraph reports on possible moves in Europe to restrict social-networking site Facebook from selling user data to advertisers:
The European Commission is planning to stop the way the website “eavesdrops” on its users to gather information about their political opinions, sexuality, religious beliefs – and even their whereabouts.
Using sophisticated software, the firm harvests information from people’s activities on the social networking site – whatever their individual privacy settings – and make it available to advertisers.
However, following concerns over the privacy implications of the practice, a new EC Directive, to be introduced in January, will ban such targeted advertising unless users specifically allow it.
Even though most of the information it harvests is stored on computers in the USA, if Facebook fails to comply with the new legislation it could face legal action or a massive fine. […]
Viviane Reding, the vice president of European Commission, said the Directive would amend current European data protection laws in the light of technological advances and ensure consistency in how offending firms are dealt with across the EU. […]
Next week, the EU’s data protection working party, which includes the UK Information Commissioner, will meet to discuss the “state of play” regarding Facebook.
They will discuss an audit of the company’s working practices being conducted by the data protection watchdog in Ireland, where Facebook has its international headquarters.