Just how much information are people comfortable sharing on social networking sites? While some may have most of their personal details listed, others can be very guarded and while there are arguments for both, it does stand to reason not to allow everyone to have access to personal information and while contact details etc. can be limited, pictures are another issue altogether. While one may limit the pictures that can be seen, friends may tag you and even though it is a popular tool on Facebook, the social networking site has announced that it will no longer be offering the service in Europe, following recommendations from the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) in Ireland.
The move follows recommendations made by the Commission after it felt that the social networking site had to do more for data protection and in this case, with users allowed to tag others, the Commissioner felt that while it should not be entirely removed, it was still a welcome move on Facebook’s part. The Commissioner made these recommendations last year and gave Facebook 6 months to comply. The service is presently discontinued and will be in full effect in Europe by October 15.
Facebook-Ireland is responsible for all of Facebook’s data and information outside of the US and Canada and because of this comes under the jurisdiction of Irish law, thus it had to implement the directives of the Data Protection Commission, which in December of last year, called on the social networking site for more transparency regarding its use of user data and giving more control to users over their privacy settings.
Commenting on the move, the DPC, Mr. Billy Hawkes, said that he was “encouraged” by Facebook’s decision, adding that the site "is sending a clear signal of its wish to demonstrate its commitment to best practice in data protection compliance."
Facebook director of policy for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Richard Allan said, "The EU has looked at the issue of securing consent for this kind of technology and issued new guidance. Our intention is to reinstate the tag-suggest feature, but consistent with new guidelines. The service will need a different form of notice and consent," adding in a statement given on Friday, last week, "When you think of the very wide ranging investigation the DPC carried out into Facebook, they looked at every aspect of our service, and our overall scorecard is very good. In the vast majority of areas the DPC looked into, they found we are behaving in a way that's not just compliant but a reasonable model for good practice."