The privacy issue… and the issues around privacy continue to grow.

Amplify’d from

McDonald’s. Blockbuster. And now Facebook? The social network and its controversial privacy policies are teeming with new complications as regulators overseas increasingly start to regard them as a suspicious, Americanizing import.

This week, data protection officials in Hamburg, Germany, sent a menacing missive in Facebook’s direction, accusing the social network of partaking in illegal activities by retaining data about people who aren’t members of the site but whose contact information may have come into its possession through members’ e-mail importer tools. Last year, the privacy commissioner in Canada put significant pressure on Facebook to simplify its privacy controls, citing concerns that were pulled back into the spotlight when a Toronto law firm filed suit against Facebook this month, for which it’s seeking class-action status.

There will be more incidents like these. Facebook’s privacy policies, however maligned by advocacy groups, have thus far held up decently well in the U.S.; a coalition of senators who called attention to the amount of data that Facebook shares with third parties quieted down when the social network made some modifications. But more than three quarters of Facebook’s users live outside the U.S., in countries where laws are different, and where lawmakers are much less likely to agree with the Facebook concept–or even the American concept–of online privacy.