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Facebook accused of privacy violation

Associated Press / July 8, 2010

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BERLIN — A German official has launched legal proceedings against Facebook, which is accused of illegally accessing and saving personal data of people who don’t use the social-networking site.

“We consider the saving of data from third parties, in this context, to be against data privacy laws,’’ said Johannes Caspar, head of the Hamburg office for data protection.

Facebook, which could be fined tens of thousands of euros, has until Aug. 11 to respond to the legal complaint.

“We are currently reviewing it and will readily respond to it within the given timeframe,’’ California-based Facebook said.

In April, Facebook changed its privacy settings to allow users to block access to the contacts listed in their e-mail, but Caspar argues the previously saved contacts have not been erased and are being used for marketing purposes.