Facebook tightens safeguards after Canada talks

Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:52am EDT
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - Facebook agreed on Thursday to give its worldwide users better protection over their personal information as the result of negotiations with Canada's privacy commissioner.

The changes will give users of the social networking website more transparency and control over the information they provide to third-party developers of applications such as games and quizzes, Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart announced.

As well, Facebook will make it clear that users can delete their accounts, not just deactivate them, if they do not want their information kept indefinitely. And information about nonusers will be better protected.

"These changes mean that the privacy of 200 million Facebook users in Canada and around the world will be far better protected," Stoddart said in a statement.

She had ruled in July that Facebook had serious gaps that breached Canadian privacy laws. The company swiftly agreed to address them in a way that meets her concerns and will also apply to developers and subscribers around the world.

"This is a global change," Stoddart told reporters.

"We're satisfied that, with these changes, Facebook is on the way to meeting the requirements of Canada's privacy law," she said, noting the popular website has a year to make the changes.

Facebook, which lets users share pictures, videos, news stories, opinions and private and public messages, has 12 million Canadian users.   Continued...

<p>A Facebook page is seen in a handout photo. REUTERS/Facebook/Handout</p>