Is it safe or legal to have your community web page on facebook?

I was inundated with emails this morning about issues with the Data Protection and Privacy policy of our program OCM. The biggest scare was as Facebook faces regulatory scrutiny over its handling of personal information after objections to the Irish data protection commissioner and the US Federal Trade Commission (See Full article).

Many communities of owners have setup private groups and web pages within Facebook for keeping on top of community issues and communicating with one another.  There are two issues with this.  First and foremost, there is no legality in this and should there be any information leak or unauthorized access to this group or even worse a denuncia, it is the community which is responsibe for the costs and damages.  Secondly, Facebook does not comply with the Data Protection Act requirement that specifically applies to the Horizontal law of property, therefore Facebook and other free forming internet groups, like that of Yahoo and Google are without a doubt not compliant with the Spanish LOPD and as such all communities using such groups and services could face hefty fines from the Spanish Data Protection Agency and furthermore be served denuncia’s by owners who may come to argue the case and legality of the group and its provision of information over the net.

According to the Financial Times article, in a 14-page  letter, the campaigners – which include EPIC, the Center for Digital  Democracy and Consumer Action – also raised concerns about Facebook’s use of  cookies to track users’ browsing even when they are logged out of the social  network.  Privacy regulators in the UK, Ireland and Germany are already looking  into a facial recognition feature that Facebook launched in June.

While the news is not an immediate concern for owners, it is one that should be food for thoughts for all those communities who use these free (not paid services) or none specific services (i.e social networking websites) that don’t comply with the LOPD in reference to the horizontal law of property in particular in Spain. The legal issues that it can bring on is endless, and there are plenty of dedicated services which are free like OCM , Votoweb, Vecino and designed specifically for  communities of owners and comply with the requirements.


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