Students take Facebook gripes to court

2012-12-05 18:04
(File)

(File) (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Vienna - An Austrian student group plans to go to court in a bid to make Facebook, the world's biggest social network, do more to protect the privacy of its hundreds of millions of members.

Campaign group europe-v-facebook, which has been lobbying for reforms at the US company for more than a year, said it would appeal against decisions by the data protection regulator in Ireland, where Facebook has its international headquarters.

The group has filed 22 separate complaints against Facebook, winning some concessions including pushing the social network to switch off its facial recognition feature in Europe.

But it said on Tuesday the changes did not go far enough and it was disappointed with the results of an audit carried out by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) in response to its complaints, which it now plans to challenge in court.

"We'll be fighting Facebook via the DPC," the group's founder, Max Schrems, told Reuters.

The move is one of a number of campaigns against the giants of the internet, who are under pressure from investors to generate more revenue from their huge user bases but also face criticism for storing and sharing personal information.

Internet search engine Google, for example, has been told by the European Union to make changes to a new policy that pools data collected on users of its services including YouTube, gmail and Google+, from which users cannot opt out.

Facebook's shares have dropped 40% in value since the company's record-breaking $104bn initial public offering in May as revenue growth has slowed.

Facebook, due to hold a conference call later on Tuesday to answer customer concerns about its privacy policy, said its data protection policies exceeded European requirements.

Never happy

"The latest Data Protection report demonstrates not only how Facebook adheres to European data protection law but also how we go beyond it, in achieving best practice," a Facebook spokesperson said in an e-mailed comment.

"Nonetheless we have some vocal critics who will never be happy whatever we do and whatever the DPC concludes."

Last month, Facebook proposed to combine its user data with that of its recently acquired photo-sharing service Instagram, loosen restrictions on e-mails between its members and share data with other businesses and affiliates that it owns.

Late on Monday, it invited users to vote on the proposed changes to its policies, which have generated almost 90 000 user comments as well as concerns from some privacy-advocacy groups and a request for more information from the DPC.

Ian Maude, an analyst at London-based technology and media analysis firm Enders Analysis, said privacy concerns were not stopping more and more people from using social networks.

"Every time Facebook gets its wrist slapped, they make some adjustments to their privacy policy," he added.

Waiting months

Among its complaints, europe-v-facebook said more than 40 000 Facebook users who had requested a copy of the data Facebook was holding on them had not received anything several months after making a request.

Ireland has become a hub for the international operations of US technology firms including Google and Microsoft, who are attracted by a generous tax regime and in return create employment for thousands.

Gary Davies, Ireland's deputy data protection commissioner, denied Facebook's investment in Ireland had influenced regulation of the company.

"We have handled this in a highly professional and focused way and we have brought about huge changes in the way Facebook handles personal data," he told Reuters.

Europe-v-facebook said it believed its Irish battle had the potential to become a test case for data protection law and had a good chance of landing up in the European Court of Justice.

Schrems said the case could cost the group around €100 000, which it hoped to raise via crowd-funding - money provided by a collection of individuals - on the internet.

Read more on:    facebook  |  austria  |  ireland  |  internet  |  social networks
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

 
 

Men24.com

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong focus on social interaction and connecting with your friends. You may have the need to expand and connect with a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.