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Facebook is in trouble for snooping on people who aren’t members

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David Cornish
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France doesn't 'Like' Facebook right now. 

The data protection body of the French government has given the US social giant three months to stop tracking non-members without their consent - a legal move that's drawn attention to Facebook's clandestine cookies activity.

Following a similar move by the Belgian Privacy Commissioner in December 2015, France's data protection authority isn't happy with the manner in which Facebook tracks people who visit the site. 

At present, if you click on a link to a Facebook article, the social site will install a cookie on your browser regardless of whether you're signed into the network. As such, Facebook can then track your web habits for financial gains without you even being a member - a move that the French believe doesn't fit its current privacy laws. The French are demanding that Facebook stops tracking non-members in this fashion within three months, or face serious fines. 

"Protecting the privacy of the people who use Facebook is at the heart of everything we do," a Facebook spokeswoman told Reuters. "We... look forward to engaging with the CNIL [French data protection authority - Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes] to respond to their concerns."

It's been known that Facebook tracks non-members in this fashion for a number of months, but recent changes in international data laws has allowed the French to take legal action. The CNIL also demand that Facebook increase the required number of characters in its passwords from six characters to eight, to heighten security, and to cease sending personal data of French members to its team in the US.

Facebook's recent adjustments to its privacy and cookies policies has seen a number of European authorities begin similar investigations: in addition to the French and the Belgians, the Dutch, German and Spanish are currently investigating the social media giant's activities to see if they comply with privacy laws.

And the UK? We're apparently okay with it.

[Via: BBC]

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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