Oct. 28, 2011: Members of Privacy Caucus query social media site about how it collects and stores users’ information

Lawmakers query social media site about how it collects and stores users’ information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – CO-CHAIRS Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), joined by other members of the  Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Carolyn Maloney (D- N.Y.), sent a letter today to Facebook asking about the company’s data collection and retention policies. It was recently reported in The Wall Street Journal that a Facebook user requested all the data that Facebook had collected about him and received a 1,200 page file from the company that included information such as chat conversations and even the various IP addresses he used to log onto the site.

Several recently publicized data and privacy issues at Facebook have led members of the Privacy Caucus to becomeincreasingly concerned that users’ personal information could be vulnerable. In the letter, they ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the company’s data collection and storage practices.

In the letter, Caucus members asked Facebook to respond to questions that include:

  • Please explain how Facebook stores this information (i.e., in a form that is encrypted or otherwise indecipherable to unauthorized persons)? How long is it stored? How does your company dispose of the information if at all?What is Facebook’s policy for actually deleting information after the request of a consumer? Does Facebook delete any information upon request? If so, what information? If not, why not?
  • Under what circumstances do you retain data after users request its deletion?  How might consumers benefit from such retention?
  • Please describe the technical challenges you face in responding to users' requests to remove data from the site.

A full copy of the letter can be found HERE.