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Data watchdog sounds alarm over Facebook

Facebook and other social networking sites are being used by third parties for their own purposes, the Swiss data protection commissioner has warned.

This content was published on June 29, 2009 - 12:56

Speaking at the presentation of his annual report, Hanspeter Thür said that people using these very popular websites should be aware of the risks of exposing too much personal data on the internet.

"The data concerning individuals who reveal personal information about themselves on the internet will end up in countless databases, including private ones, and in the process [people] lose control over their own personal data," Thür said in a statement.

"The operators of such pages are able to combine this personal data with metadata from which they can compile a very detailed and profitable personality profile."

The data protection watchdog has therefore been issuing advice to users, service providers and authorities on how services should be provided in a way that respects data protection requirements. It is also keeping an eye out for abuse.

At a media conference in the capital, Bern, on Monday, Thür also presented the results of a study into the effectiveness of the three-year-old law on transparency, which he found to be lacking. Thür said the government would receive recommendations for improvement.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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