Using Facebook data for political gain raises serious concerns: privacy watchdog

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien says his office will contact Facebook to find out whether the personal information of Canadians was affected by a major data leak involving the global social media platform.


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OTTAWA — The federal privacy watchdog says he’s concerned about the possibility that the personal information of Facebook users was harvested for political purposes.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien says his office will contact Facebook to find out whether the personal information of Canadians was affected by a major data leak involving the global social media platform.

A Canadian data expert named Christopher Wylie has exposed the breach in media interviews, saying he helped found a data analytics company that helped the Trump campaign capitalize politically on private Facebook information.

In a statement today, Therrien says his office has also offered to assist an investigation into the matter already launched by the U.K. information commissioner’s office.

Therrien says his ultimate goal is to ensure that the privacy rights of Canadian Facebook users are protected.

Reports by The New York Times and The Observer of London say U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign hired data-analytics company Cambridge Analytica to collect private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users.

“Recent media reports regarding the use of personal information posted on Facebook for political purposes raise serious privacy concerns,” Therrien said in the statement.

“Our office will be reaching out to Facebook to seek information regarding whether Canadians’ personal information was affected by the issues raised in those reports. That will help us determine possible next steps.”

The Canadian Press


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