The federal privacy watchdog and some of his global counterparts are urging the largest social media companies to prevent bulk extraction of personal details from their websites.

In a joint statement, privacy commissioner Philippe Dufresne and data protection authorities from Australia, Britain and other countries say the practice, known as data scraping, poses a serious risk.

They warn that personal information has been used for targeted cyberattacks, identity fraud, creating facial recognition databases, unauthorized police intelligence gathering, and unwanted direct marketing and spam.

A 2021 investigation by Canada's privacy commissioner and three provincial watchdogs found that Clearview AI’s scraping of billions of images of people from across the internet represented mass surveillance of Canadians.

The new joint statement, an initiative of the Global Privacy Assembly's International Enforcement Cooperation Working Group, is signed by Dufresne and representatives of 11 other assembly members.

It has been shared with the parent companies of YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Threads, Facebook, LinkedIn, Weibo and X, formerly known as Twitter.

"International collaboration is critical to promoting and protecting privacy rights in the digital realm and addressing emerging issues such as mass data scraping, which can present a significant risk to fundamental privacy rights," Dufresne said in a statement.

The document sets out several steps that social media companies and other websites that host publicly accessible personal information can take to ease the risk.

They include people within an organization to identify and implement controls to protect against scraping, as well as taking steps to detect bots and block IP addresses when such activity is suspected.

Prevent illegal mass data extraction, privacy authorities tell social media firms. #CDNPoli #DataProtection #DataScraping #DataExtraction

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2023.

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Well, it'd be nice. But don't they realize that trade in personal data *IS* what those sites were built to do?
That's their business model.
The provisions need to apply to other multi-nationals sharing information too, and need to apply to more than social media.
A flaw in my personality made me suspicious way back when, and I did some checking. I'm old enough to have experienced real actual privacy.
Other venues and "services" expose individuals important information as well.
A well-known medical lab company, has an international database and back when I checked, sold patients' information with insurance companies and actuaries.
I found that a popular survey company actually concatenates information across surveys whoever originates them, and creates "profiles" of individuals from the surveys.
It also seems clear that the social media companies obfuscate, lie, deny ... and keep inventing new and sneaky ways to make users' personal information available to others.
And they've become billionnaires doing so, I might add.
They are undemocratic and antidemocratic bunch of oligarchs in the world, and present, from what I can tell, a clear and present danger not only to individuals and to democracy.
Musk has gone one further ... making it so individual users cannot block the trolls.
Governments and media are far too dependent upon their "services,"
I wouldn't be surprised to find that communications networks and security companies (and the data services they use) don't do the same. Not to mention private investigators, including those who work for insurance adjusters and have been known to harrass family members, including demanding information from and sticking a camera in the face of a child on the way home from school.
I.e., this "information economy" is way out of line, and has been so for decades now. But nobody's even tried to regulate them, let alone enforce such regulations.