Windsor West MP Brian Masse September 20, 2019. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)Windsor West MP Brian Masse September 20, 2019. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

Facebook got off easy, says Windsor MP

A local Member of Parliament has renewed calls for a digital bill of rights in light of a settlement by a social media giant.

Windsor West MP Brian Masse, the NDP's critic for innovation, science, economic development, urged the minority Liberal government in Ottawa to consider a total modernization of Canada's laws regarding consumer protection, privacy, and competition.

The call for reform comes after Facebook paid the Competition Bureau over $9 million to settle a Canadian probe of privacy laws. In contrast, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States ordered the social media pioneer to pay $5 billion for the same issues.

"This is just another example of more significant enforcement actions by U.S. regulators which highlights the deficiencies and shortcomings of our outdated and inadequate regulations and laws," said Masse in a media release. “I have proposed reforms and introduced a digital bill of rights. The Liberals have done nothing for four years while the data breaches and the privacy violations have become almost routine occurrences and the meaningless fines become just a cost of doing business."

The bureau ruling found that Facebook made false or misleading claims about how much control Canadians had over the privacy of their personal information. In his release, Masse pointed out that Facebook made a $4 billion profit in the first quarter of 2020.

Masse had previously asked for consumer reform after credit reporting company Equifax was fined $600 million in the U.S. for a data breach, but faced no penalty in Canada.

"What is a stark contrast is that the U.S. is considering even more stringent regulations and oversight while the Liberals have done nothing in more than four years," said Masse.

Masse had originally introduced a Private Member's Bill, M-175, in April 2018. It has yet to come up for action in the current Parliament.

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