Facebook seeks talks over privacy terms

Summary

The state secretary for privacy is unhappy with the conditions introduced this week by the social network and wants to see action taken

Widespread criticism

Social network Facebook has asked for a meeting with Bart Tommelein, secretary of state in the federal government for privacy matters, to discuss his misgivings over the new terms and conditions for users of the site.

The new terms have aroused widespread criticism. Users are now deemed to have agreed to allow Facebook to analyse, use and sell a wide range of data, including their online behaviour, contacts, private messages, photos and videos. Facebook may sell, for example, names and photos of users to be featured in an advertising campaign without their knowledge or consent.

The privacy commission in Belgium has already threatened legal action. Tommelein (pictured), meanwhile, has called for a co-ordinated European approach to the problem. Despite the threats, Facebook introduced the new terms on 1 February.

The EU is to set up a task force to look at the problem and seek a solution, led by the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. If a Europe-wide solution cannot be found, the task force will draw up a list of infringements which each member state can use on a national level, a spokesperson for Tommelein’s office explained. She described the Facebook overture as “positive news. Belgium’s concerns have obviously been picked up.”

Photo courtesy De Standaard