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December 04, 2012

Austrian Student Group Organizes Lawsuit Against Facebook

By Brittany Walters-Bearden, TMCnet Contributor

Unsurprisingly, Facebook (News - Alert) has landed itself in hot water over privacy issues once again, adding to its collection of privacy disputes around the world. An Austrian student group, calling itself Europe vs. Facebook, is contending that the company has failed to meet the standards of the European data protection law.

The organizing force behind the effort, University of Vienna law student Max Schrems told The New York Times, “We have been pursuing this for more than a year with Facebook, but the company has done only about 10 percent of what we had asked them to do. Therefore, we are preparing to go to court.” 

He contends that the privacy policy violates European law and is too vague; “It is basically a collection of American legalese, which is intentionally vague and gives the company adequate leeway to do basically anything they want with your data,” he said.

In September, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner came to an agreement with Facebook, stipulating a few changes – among them, shorter retention of consumer data. Schrems and the rest of Europe vs. Facebook say the changes made in September are not enough. He charges that the Irish are not interested in pursuing it any further because they are reliant on the jobs created by Facebook.

The New York Daily News reports that a spokeswoman for Facebook said in an e-mailed comment, “The latest Data Protection report demonstrates not only how Facebook adheres to European data protection, but also we go beyond it, in achieving best practice.” 

She continued, “Nonetheless, we have some vocal critics who will never be happy whatever we do and whatever the DPC concludes.”

Schrems estimates that its lawsuit will cost about $130,810, which they hope to raise through crowd-funding. Whether or not they plan on using Facebook to promote their crowd-funding project is yet to be seen.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.




Edited by Braden Becker
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