Europe v Facebook to launch legal challenge

Privacy campaign group Europe v Facebook has announced plans to challenge the Irish data protection authority over its findings on Facebook’s data collection practices.

It says that changes in the company’s policies ordered by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner don’t conform to EU advice, and don’t go nearly far enough. It’s published a highly-critical response to the Irish authority’s report.

“The Irish authority has taken many important steps which moved privacy on Facebook forward, but when looked at it in more detail, has not always delivered solid and fact based results. Facebook’s statements were simply adopted, even though many of them can be disproven with a few screenshots. It seems like Facebook has also fooled the authority in some cases or did at least not stick to their promises,” says the group in a statement.

“None of our complaints are currently resolved, since many were just worked on superficially. We also had to find out that the Irish authority is not in line with the common legal understanding within the EU, expressed in the Article 29 Working Party’s opinions.”

To raise the money for the court case, Europe v Facebook is seeking crowd funding: supporters can donate here. Founder Max Schrems says the group needs to raise between E100,000 and E300,000 within the next three weeks.

“If we get these things before the courts, it is very likely that it goes all the way to the European Court of Justice,” he says.

“Such a case would be a landmark for the whole IT industry, equally to the anti-trust cases against Microsoft.”

The move comes as Facebook users get what may be their last chance to vote on privacy changes. One of the things it wants users to vote on is whether such votes should be scrapped in future.