EU critical of Facebook's default privacy settings

Says it is 'unacceptable' to make profile info public

TODO alt text

An EU ruling claims that it is unacceptable for Facebook to make people's profile information public without their prior consent.

Facebook has been sent a letter from the European Union's Data Protection Working Party this week to alert the social networking company of the EU's concerns.

Unacceptable privacy settings

The Data Protection Working Party highlights the fact that Facebook's recent changes make private information publicly viewable by default and is simply "unacceptable".

Facebook profiles should be set to a default whereby info is only shared with "self-selected" contacts, claims the EU.

"Any further access, such as by search engines, should be an explicit choice of the user… It is unacceptable that [Facebook] fundamentally changed the default settings on its social-networking platform to the detriment of users.

"Providers of social networking sites should be aware that it would be a breach of data protection law if they use personal data of other individuals contained in a user profile for commercial purposes if these other individuals have not given their free and unambiguous consent."

Facebook in a statement, following the EU's letter: "We already enable users to exclude themselves from being indexed by search engines, and recently introduced granular data permissions for applications," "We are happy to continue working with the Data Protection Working Party."

Facebook has over 400 million users worldwide.

Via The Telegraph