Canada among countries demanding social media companies prevent illegal data scraping

The group has sent social media companies a list of expectations to prevent data scraping

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner has joined counterparts from around the globe to demand social media companies protect the personal information of their users.

A particular issue is data scraping, which sees social media companies and website operators automatically extract user data from the web. This information has been used for a variety of offences, including targeted cyberattacks, identity fraud, and spam calls.

A recent example includes Clearview AI’s collection of images, including those of children, that resulted in the mass surveillance of Canadians.

The conglomerate of privacy officials has sent social media companies a statement outlining the steps they can take to keep user information safe.

One of the recommendations includes having companies assign a team to identify, respond, and protect against scraping activities. Other recommendations include detecting bots and taking legal action when data scraping occurs.

“The practices outlined in this joint statement reflect common global data protection principles and practices, and are designed to help protect against data scraping of personal information and mitigate against its privacy impacts,” the statement reads.

The counterparts have shared the information with the parent companies of YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Threads, Facebook, LinkedIn, Weibo and Twitter X.

There are several things users can do themselves to keep their privacy safe. Individuals can familiarize themselves with the way these companies share personal information, with a specific focus on sharing and disclosure policies. Users can also take some time to manage and understand their privacy settings.

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Source: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada