French Authorities Hit Facebook for Privacy of Non-Members

Facebook has received an order from France to revisit their cookie policy for the sake of the privacy of non-members. The French authorities have given Facebook three months to stop tracking the activities of non-users without their consent. Plus, the regulators have also ordered Facebook to stop transferring data to the United States using an illegal data transfer pact i.e. Safe Harbor which has been declared invalid by the European Union Court of Justice.

According to CNIL [French data protection authority – Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertes], Facebook does not let the users know about the cookie it sets on their terminal when they visit a public page on Facebook. This social networking site tracks everyone using this cookie without confirming if the visitor has a Facebook account or not. The cookie, Facebook uses, is a small text file that gathers all the information about users’ web activity and transfers it to Facebook.

In addition to this, CNIL has also demanded a stronger password complexity to be introduced. The organization has emphasized Facebook to increase the current six-digit password requirement to at least eight-digit password requirement. This means that all the Facebook users will be required to set a password having at least eight digits.

Facebook has continuously denied reports regarding data transfer using Safe Harbor pact, however, the French regulators are willing to revamp the ways their data is being transferred to the United States of America; along with the cookie Facebook uses to track activities of all – even the non-members.

If Facebook – the social media website – does not comply with the orders in the given three months’ time, then the organization will likely face heavy penalties. Only time will tell how the matter turns out in the near future.


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