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Privacy groups want regulators to stop Facebook’s user tracking plans

U.S. and EU privacy and consumer groups called on privacy regulators to stop Facebook’s plans to gather the Internet browsing patterns of its users while they visit other sites. The groups, gathered in the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) to stop Facebook collecting the web browsing activities of Internet users in order to target advertising. They made the request in a letter sent to the authorities on Tuesday. Facebook’s European headquarters is in Ireland, giving the Irish data protection commissioner responsibility for defending its European users’ personal data and privacy rights under EU law.

Privacy groups want regulators in the U.S. and Europe to stop Facebook’s recently announced plans to track users when they’re on other websites. In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission and the Irish Data Protection Commission on Tuesday, U.S. and European privacy advocates pushed regulators to investigate Facebook over its new online tracking program. The letter pushes the groups “to take the appropriate action” and “order Facebook to reverse its new data collection practice and develop public accountability mechanisms for the company to ensure it is complying with required privacy practices.” The letter was sent by a committee within the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue, a coalition of consumer groups in the U.S. in Europe, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Center for Digital Democracy and Brussels-based BEUC – The European Consumer Organization. In a blog post last month, Facebook announced that it would begin tracking its users as they navigated across the Internet to more specifically target ads based on each user’s browsing history. “Today, we learn about your interests primarily from the things you do on Facebook, such as Pages you like,” the post said. “Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use.”

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