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After ultimatum to Google, Dutch privacy watchdog to probe Facebook

After ultimatum to Google, Dutch privacy watchdog to probe Facebook

NEW YORK: A day after issuing an ultimatum to Google to adhere to its privacy regulations or face a penalty, the Dutch data Protection Authority announced a probe into Facebook’s privacy policy for handling user data and photos.
The announcement came a day after the Hague-based Data Protection Agency warned Google it was breaching data protection laws by using personal details for targeted advertising.
Google faces a 15-million-euro fine if it doesn’t fix the alleged breaches by the end of February, the DPA said.“The DPA has decided to investigate Facebook’s newly-announced privacy policy,” it said in Tuesday’s statement.
“The DPA wants to know what the consequences will be for Facebook users in the Netherlands,” it added.
Facebook last month announced world-wide changes to its privacy policy, which includes the right to share personal details and pictures for commercial purposes, the DPA said.
The watchdog had asked Facebook in a letter to hold off on the changes, set to come in on January 1, until the results of its probe were known.
The DPA added that because Facebook has a “company presence” in the Netherlands and was using Dutch citizens’ details “it had the authority to act as a supervisor.”
Facebook said it was “surprised and disappointed to learn about the DPA’s inquiry,” in a reaction emailed to AFP.
“As a company with international headquarters in Dublin, we routinely review product and policy updates… with our regulator, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner,” Facebook said.
“We’re confident the updates comply with the relevant laws.”
The DPA on Monday gave Google two months to fix changes to its privacy policy introduced in 2012.
It said the Dutch recommendation followed similar probes by five other privacy regulators Britain, France, Germany Italy and Spain.
Google allegedly breached Dutch laws by, for instance, matching personal details to personalised adverts without “properly informing users or first asking their permission,” the DPA said.