OTTAWA — Canada’s privacy watchdog says Internet phenomenon Facebook breaches the law by keeping users’ personal information indefinitely — even after members close their accounts.

 

Jennifer Stoddart says the popular social networking site should hang on to the data only for as long as truly necessary.

 

In a report today, Stoddart urges Facebook to remedy the problem, one of several serious privacy gaps she discovered.

 

She launched a probe of Facebook in response to a complaint last year from the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic.

The clinic, based at the University of Ottawa’s law faculty, alleged numerous violations by the high-profile site.

Facebook has nearly 12 million Canadian members, placing it among the largest pool of users in the world.