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French agencies accuse Facebook of breaching data privacy laws

French authorities have accused the social media giant of unfairly tracking people's information. The accusation comes the same week Facebook faced a major setback in India.

Privacy agency CNIL and competition agency DGCCRF said separately this week that Facebook must change the way it collects users' data.

According to the two government-affiliated agencies, the California-based tech company has been tracking and using data in breach of French law. Facebook has even been collecting the data of non-users who visit a public page on the website.

CNIL also accused the company of illegally collecting people's personal information - such as religious beliefs and sexual orientation - without their consent.

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Ongoing hurdles abroad

The privacy agency warned it would impose fines on the company within three months if it didn't change its method of data collection. Those fines could amount to as much as 150,000 euros ($170,000).

"The protection of privancy is a priority for Facebook," the company responded in a statement, according to German news agency DPA. "We are confident that our service is in conformity with European data protection laws."

The accusations come the same week Indian regulators

blocked a bare-bones version of Facebook

designed to give Internet access to millions of impoverished people. The company's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has expressed his disappointment with the decision.

blc/bw (dpa, AP)

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