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Facebook again comes under radar: This time being sued for Location Tracking

Since everything happens somewhere, an enormous amount of location data generated every day can be capitalized for faster services. In fact, it has become in vogue for companies to utilize this valuable data for smooth running of their businesses. However, there is always that other side of the coin that we must evaluate.

Location data privacy has become talk of the town where giants like Google has been scrutinized for tracking location 24×7 even when you have turned off your location history. Even social networking leader Facebook has not been spared in the past. Recently it has come under the limelight again.

In a recent report, a California resident alleges in a lawsuit that Facebook secretively stores information related to the users’ location despite the users attempt to stop the company from logging location data.

Brett Heeger filed complain against the company in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, saying that Facebook tracks as well as stores location data of all its users including those persons who have restricted the company from the activity of storing their location.

“Facebook stores records of users’ ‘estimated locations,’ inferred from their IP addresses, as well as data gleaned from data about WiFi connections,” stated Brett. The complaint includes claims that Facebook’s alleged IP-logging violates the federal wiretap law and California privacy laws.

What had happened Earlier

Months before Facebook was under the radar about the handling of personal data. Allegations of leaking data for profit were being put and the company’s policies towards privacy were criticized from different quarters. The Cambridge Analytica case was highlighted all over the world.

A company which was involved in psychological analysis and targeted advertisement for political manipulation to achieve the desired result in the election, harvested personalized data of over 40 million Americans with the help of Facebook which was used to target the same user by understanding their psychology in the elections further.

Christopher Wylie, who was working in that particular organization turned into a whistleblower and revealed many facts about how data collected from Facebook through different surveys helped political parties to know the thoughts and mood of the public. It was the biggest attack on the privacy of the people.

From that incident, many steps were taken in order to secure the private information of the users. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of them.

GDPR- The most important change in Data Privacy Regulation in 20 years

The EU General Data Protection Regulation replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and is designed to Harmonize the data privacy law across Europe as well as to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy. Facebook, just like many other tech giants, established its international headquarters in Ireland, in 2008, because of the low corporate tax rate in the country. This shift also meant that consumers outside of USA and Canada would be subject to European laws and regulations.

With the new change as GDPR  users outside Europe will no longer be able to lodge complaints with Irish data protection commissioner or in the Irish courts. GDPR offers greater control to users and the penalties for the data breach are very high – up to 4% of the company’s global revenue.

From Cambridge Analytica incident Facebook has faced many objections as well as its CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologizes publicly for the data breach and as a result, he was very enthusiastic about the GDPR.

Fingers on Facebook’s privacy policy

Again the similar case but with a new face is opened against Facebook of location tracking without any concern from its users. Brett Heeger questions the privacy policy of Facebook and stated, “Facebook’s conduct is contrary to users’ reasonable expectations of privacy. Users can only learn of Facebook’s ‘secret tracking’ by downloading their data from the service and then scouring multiple levels of obscure folders.”

However, Facebook spokesperson defend the company by saying the complaint lack solid evidence. “Our Data Policy and related disclosures explain our practices relating to location data and provide information about the privacy settings we make available,” he further added.

Also Read: Facebook to circumvent data privacy law by shifting user base