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Senator Conroy slams Facebook
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Senator Conroy slams Facebook

This week Senator Stephen Conroy spoke out at a Senate Estimates hearing slamming Facebook for its disregard of its users' privacy.His comments come as the pressure mounts against Facebook…

This week Senator Stephen Conroy spoke out at a Senate Estimates hearing slamming Facebook for its disregard of its users' privacy.

His comments come as the pressure mounts against Facebook following the much publicised incidents of online bullying and the recent death of a Sydney teenager.

Discussing the merits of introducing an online ombudsman to address concerns regarding social networking sites, Conroy criticised Facebook for its "complete disregard for users' privacy".

He said: "Facebook has been rolling out changes to its privacy laws over recent months and as one blogger recently put it - Facebook has gone rogue."

In his discussions, Conroy continued by comparing a "corporate giant who is answerable to no-one and motivated solely by profit-making the rules on the internet" to "a democratically elected government with all the checks and balances in place."

Conroy confirmed that the Federal Privacy Commissioner will be examining a whole range of issues and is currently investigating whether breaches to the Privacy Act have occurred.

But HopgoodGanim lawyer Michael Morris says Senator Conroy's comments take a moral, rather than legal, perspective, and Morris says it is unlikely that Facebook can be bound by the Australian Privacy Act, given the creator and operator of Facebook are based overseas.

"Everyone knows there is no general right to privacy in Australia. In terms of legislation there is [the] Privacy Act which deals with informational privacy, rather than personal privacy," Morris explained. "It would be tough enough for an individual user here in Australia to be liable under the Australian Privacy Act because that Act does not apply to individuals acting in a personal capacity."

Morris said the government cannot do anything except to legislate, which he believes will be almost impossible given the current battles Senator Conroy is facing within the industry regarding censorship.

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