Sunday, May 16, 2021

European Student Group Plans to Challenge Facebook in Court

An Austrian student group calling itself Europe v Facebook has announced that it plans to sue Facebook in Ireland’s court system. The group claims that Facebook is not complying with European privacy protection laws.

Kevin J. O’Brien with The New York Times reported, “An Austrian student group said Tuesday it planned to challenge Facebook’s privacy policies in Irish court in coming months, alleging that the social networking giant had failed, despite repeated requests and formal complaints made by its members, to adapt its privacy policy to the restrictions of European data protection law. The group, called Europe vs. Facebook, said it would begin collecting donations to challenge Facebook’s privacy policy in Ireland, where the company’s European business is based. Max Schrems, an Austrian law student at the University of Vienna who organized the effort, said that Facebook has no interest in adapting its service to meet stricter European privacy requirements.”

BBC News noted, “Europe v Facebook is unhappy about ‘half-hearted solutions’ following an audit by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. The group says it will take the IDPC to court for what is sees as failures to implement the changes.” It added, “Despite the fact that, under Irish law, it will have to take the IDPC to court rather than Facebook, the group still sees it as a battle with the social network.”

Reuters ran a statement from the group, which said, “We are hoping for a legally compliant solution from the Irish data protection authority. Unfortunately, that is highly doubtful at the moment. Therefore we are also preparing ourselves for a lawsuit in Ireland.”

In a separate story, eWeek’s Nathan Eddy reported the results of a Nielsen study which found that “Facebook remains the most-visited social network in the U.S. through personal computers (PCs) (152.2 million visitors), mobile apps (78.4 million users) and mobile Web (74.3 million visitors), and is multiple times the size of the next largest social site across each platform. The site is also the top U.S. web brand in terms of time spent, as some 17 percent of time spent online through personal computers is on Facebook, according to the study.”

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