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Members of Privacy Caucus, Led by Rep. Barton, "Alarmed" by Reports of Facebook Data Retention


Location: Washington, DC

Representatives Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), joined by other members of the House Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus -- Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Carolyn Maloney (D- N.Y.) , sent a letter today to Facebook asking about the company's data collection and deletion policies. It was recently reported in The Wall Street Journal that a former user requested all the data that Facebook collected about him and got back a 1,200 page file that included information like chat conversations and even the various IP addresses he used to log onto the site.

Several recent data and privacy breaches have led Members of the Privacy Caucus to become increasingly concerned that users' personal information could be vulnerable to hackers. In the letter, they ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the company's data collection and storage practices.

Caucus Members asked Facebook to respond to questions that include:

* Please explain how Facebook stores this information (i.e., in a form that is encrypted or otherwise indecipherable to unauthorized persons)? How long is it stored? How does your company dispose of the information if at all?

* What is Facebook's policy for actually deleting information after the request of a consumer? Does Facebook delete any information upon request? If so, what information? If not, why not?

* Under what circumstances do you retain data after users request its deletion? How might consumers benefit from such retention?

* Please describe the technical challenges you face in responding to users' requests to remove data from the site.

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