The 35-page document from CIPPIC, the Canadian Internet Policy andPublic Interest Clinic, based at the University of Ottawa, allegesnumerous privacy failures. They believe Facebook violates the CanadianPersonal Information Protection and Electronic Document Act (PIPEDA).
"Social networking online is a growing phenomenon," said CIPPIC'sdirector Philippa Lawson. "It is proving to be a tremendous tool forcommunity building and social change, but at the same time, a minefieldof privacy invasion."
Lisa Feinberg, a law student at the University, who is behind thecomplaint, said: "We're concerned that Facebook is deceiving its users.Facebook promotes itself as a social utility, but it's also involved incommercial activities like targeted advertising."
CIPPIC's complaint argues that Facebook fails to inform members howtheir information is disclosed to third parties for advertising andother profit-making purposes. It also argues that the site has failedto obtain permission from members for such uses of their personalinformation.
Lawson said CIPPIC chose to concentrate on Facebook because it is thelargest social networking site in Canada, but that later it wouldprobably turn its attention to MySpace. Canada contains Facebook'sthird largest user base after the US and the UK.
Canada's Privacy Commissioner will now hear the complaint, and couldtake up to one year to report her findings. Stoddart often prefersnegotiation to resolve disputes, but can seek court injunctions ifnegotation fails.