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Leaving Facebook. The ICO's concerns.

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Chris Vallance | 16:40 UK time, Friday, 18 January 2008

I've been speaking with Dave Evans of the Information Commissioner's Office about the issue of how easy it is to delete your profile should you wish to leave Facebook. At present the company initially offers you the ability to deactivate a profile, meaning that although your profile is removed from the site, Facebook retains the information on the profile: deleting it is a much more time consuming process. That concerns the ICO who will meet with Facebook to discuss this and other data protection and privacy issues later this month.

In my full interview with Dave Evans, we cover the deactivation vs deletion issue as well as other matters relating to privacy, data and social networks

Dave was keen to point out that he believes Facebook are eager to comply with UK data protection rules. The company itself has given us this statement, "“We believe we are in full compliance with UK data protection law. We give users the notice that the UK Data Protection Act requires in order to inform them about what information is collected. We also give users granular control over what information they share and who they share it with. We take the concerns of the ICO and our user’s privacy very seriously and are committed to working with the ICO to maintain a trusted environment for all Facebook users and ensure compliance with UK law.” They also say they do not use information held in deactivated accounts in any way.

UPDATE:The company has moved to make complete deletion of accounts (not just deactivation) easier. The International Herald Tribune says: Chris Kelly, Facebook's chief privacy officer, confirmed that deletion "removes all personal information from the account."

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