How to protect your personal information online

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday

David Fraser, a Halifax privacy lawyer, isn't convinced that the narrative is accurate. But the data leak is nothing new for those already entrenched in the world of information security. Head to the "Was My Information Shared?" page, and there give you an answer right there. But in Bhatt's opinion, data is even harder to control than oil.

Most people do not understand the scope of Facebook's data collection. "Of course, if this sentiment were to be similar across other countries, 15% of 2 billion users is a sizable chunk of the installed base that would disappear".

Lawmakers criticized Zuckerberg on Wednesday for the company's repeated controversies regarding past data privacy issues and its repeated apologies.

"Facemash was a prank website that I launched in college - in my dorm room - before I started Facebook", he said.

Some legislators are now also wondering if Facebook's third-party app data policies violate a 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission.

"It's very clear that Cambridge Analytica and these kinds of companies are the product of an environment to which Facebook has contributed greatly", says Mr Popov.

The University's School of Information has been studying the implications of Facebook and the information infrastructure for almost a decade, said information studies professor Andrew Dillon.

"Most of what I found was not at all surprising", he said. But he said his company "can do a better job of explaining how advertising works". However, this meant that the Facebook Events data would also include information about who else attended the event, as well as any posts shared on the event's wall.

35% said they were using Facebook less than they used to over the privacy issue.

Zuckerberg clearly admitted to mistakes and took responsibility. Quite understandably, these were the sort of questions on where Zuckerberg looked in a shambles. Zuckerberg testified for around five hours in a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

"He has a real problem with his business model", Parakilas said.

"The only way we're going to close this trust gap is through legislation that creates and empowers a sufficiently resourced expert oversight agency, with rulemaking authority to protect the digital privacy and ensure that companies protect our users' data". All the same, the level of questioning suggests that those in Congress lack in some cases even a basic understanding of how Facebook - or online services more broadly - work.

Fraser said if he were a politician, he could ascertain who would be unlikely to vote for him by campaigning door-to-door. Various news outlets, from CNN to The New York Times to BuzzFeed, have published reports highlighting just how much data Facebook has on its users. "In Canada, at least, the creation of that list and the targeting of that list is not regulated under Canadian elections law or Canadian privacy law and I think that is a shortcoming".

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