Feeds

Facebook updates data archive tool, upsets privacy warriors

Falls short of handing TOTAL CONTROL to users

The Power of One Infographic

Facebook is dishing up a more comprehensive archive of the data it stores and tracks, after the Irish data protection commission requested that the dominant social network give its users full control of that information.

But Facebook's updated tool – which allows users to download different types of data held by the company – stopped short of providing all the info it keeps on an individual using the site.

The Facebook account history feature was described by the Mark Zuckerberg-run outfit as a downloadable "expanded archive" of that information. The privacy update comes as Zuckerberg poises himself to take the company public on Wall Street.

Privacy campaigners have already grumbled about Facebook's update to its account history tool, which debuted – facing the immediate derision of data-safeguarding warriors – in 2010.

Austrian-based collective Europe versus Facebook, which last year filed 22 complaints with the Irish data protection commission, said today that the network had only released a "fraction" of the 84 data categories it claimed users should get under EU law.

Facebook, whose European headquarters are in Ireland, said that users could already download a copy of stuff they've shared on the site such as photos, posts, messages and chat confabs.

"Now you can access additional categories of information, including previous names, friend requests you've made and IP addresses you logged in from," it added.

"This feature will be rolling out gradually to all users and more categories of information will be available for download in the future."

It did not say whether eventually all categories of data would be made available to its 845 million-strong userbase around the world.

The Irish DPA published its audit report in December last year, after it had carried out a privacy inspection of Facebook's data-handling business.

At the time it urged Facebook to seek consent of its users before slotting their profile pictures and names in third-party ads. The company's European policy wonk Richard Allan confirmed he would discuss any such move with the commission.

Speaking on 21 December, Allan said: "Facebook has committed to either implement, or to consider, other 'best practice' improvements recommended by the commission, even in situations where our practices already comply with legal requirements. Meeting these commitments will require intense work over the next six months."

An agreed "formal review" is expected to be undertaken by the commissioner's office in July this year. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
Price cuts, new features coming for Office 365 small biz customers
New plans for companies with up to 300 staff to launch in fall
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.