Icelandic Police Department Deactivates Facebook Page Over Data Safety Concerns Skip to content

Icelandic Police Department Deactivates Facebook Page Over Data Safety Concerns

By Yelena

police car
Photo: Golli. A police car on Laugavegur street in Reykjavík.

The Suðurnes Police Department in Southwest Iceland deactivated its Facebook page yesterday, citing comments from Iceland’s Data Protection Authority about data security on the social media platform, RÚV reports. The Reykjavík Capital Area Police Department says it will keep its Facebook page running and that it ensures data security through other means. Facebook’s collection and storage of data does not conform to Icelandic law, according to the DPA.

In March 2021, the Data Protection Authority came to the conclusion that the Capital Area Police’s reception of information via Facebook did not meet legal requirements on the processing of personal data for the purpose of law enforcement. DPA Director Helga Þórisdóttir stated the institution’s comments were particularly aimed at instances when police requested information from the public via Facebook’s messaging function. Facebook’s terms of use clearly state that data sent through the platform is collected. Icelandic law bans the storage of such information outside the European Economic Area, Helga points out.

The Suðurnes Police Department deactivated its Facebook page yesterday, ten months after the Data Protection Authority’s conclusion. It is the only department to act on the comments thus far. Halla Bergþóra Björnsdóttir, Chief Superintendent of Capital Area Police, says the department does not plan on deactivating its Facebook page. “We consider it an important tool in communication with citizens. We took the Data Protection Authority’s decision seriously at the time and changed our work processes,” Halla stated, adding that the police use Facebook cautiously, including by requesting information through secure means, such as by phone.

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