Canada and Facebook Battle Over Privacy and Data Usage


Canada and Facebook battle over the mishandling of data and privacy concerns.

Canada and Facebook battle over the issue of privacy and data use once again. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) is asking the Federal Court to rule on Facebook’s privacy and data handling policy. Originating from an inquiry completed last year, Canadian officials say that Facebook improperly gathered the data of its users. Specifically on its third-party app “This Is Your Digital Life”, or TYDL.

The app used by over 620,000 Canadians asked users to take a personality test. Once completed, they gathered personal data while masking the intent in the user agreement.

The OPC argues that this violates PIPEDA, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act of 2000.

As part of this, the OPC wants to push the court to make Facebook more active in its stance against such activities. Facebook denied that it had misused any user material and refused that any other steps were necessary.

The OPC’s order asks “Facebook to implement effective, specific and easily accessible measures to obtain, and ensure it maintains, meaningful consent from all users”.

Facebook, and others, are not new to these issues.

After the 2016 Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook began taking steps to restrict such apps. As a result, Facebook banned apps with “minimal utility” and doesn’t “enrich the in-app or user experience.”

Facebook is not the only one with these legal issues. In addition, Twitter, YouTube, Pintrest, and other social media companies received flak from both government and non-government organisations.

This case is also something unique. This type of legal filing is considered “de novo”. This status means that the OPC has to prove through evidence and arguments that Facebook’s actions are against PIPEDA.

After this, the court will have the authority to issue their final decision after reviewing the matter. The time this will take is unknown.

Before this, a 2009 investigation found the tech company’s “uninformed consent” practices were making people offer personal data. It’s argued this data was supplied without proper consent.

These mounting accusations put even more pressure on the social network king to reconsider its data handling practices.