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Privacy commissioner appeals Federal Court decision in Facebook case

Judge previously dismissed federal privacy watchdog’s bid for a declaration that Facebook broke the law governing the use of personal information

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is appealing a recent decision by the Federal Court, which sided with Facebook in a case tied to the Cambridge Analytica affair.

A judge in April dismissed the federal privacy watchdog’s bid for a declaration that the social media giant, now known as Meta, broke the law governing the use of personal information.

The application was brought by the watchdog in relation to its 2019 investigation of Facebook, conducted jointly with British Columbia’s privacy commissioner, which found shortcomings in its privacy practices.

The investigation followed a complaint that British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was able to access the private data of millions of Facebook users without their consent.

Facebook disputed the findings and did not agree to implement any recommendations.

The watchdog asked the Federal Court in 2020 to require Facebook to correct its privacy practices to conform with a law governing how the private sector can use personal information, but that application was dismissed as well.

“The issues at the heart of this case are directly related to the fundamental privacy rights of Canadians and their ability to participate with trust in our digital society,” privacy commissioner Philippe Dufresne said in a news release.

“For that reason, my office is appealing the Federal Court’s decision as the matter raises important questions with respect to the interpretation and application of privacy law in Canada that will benefit from clarification by the Federal Court of Appeal.”

The Canadian Press

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