Facebook Meets Advocacy Group to Discuss European Data Protection

Lora Bentley
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Representatives from Europe-v-Facebook.org met with Facebook officials in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday to discuss the social network's progress toward transparency in its user data practices. Of particular concern is the company's compliance with new European data protection directives.


The meeting comes on the heels of a report from Ireland's data protection commissioner in December outlining the results of its audit of Facebook Ireland. Among other things, the commissioner found that Facebook Ireland needs to work toward "simpler explanations of its privacy policies, easier accessibility [of those policies] ... and enhanced ability of users to make informed decisions" about that data.

In the months preceding the report, while the data protection commissioner was conducting its inquiry, Europe v. Facebook founder Max Schrems filed a series of complaints with the commissioner regarding Facebook Ireland's privacy failings. A Facebook spokesperson told PCMag.com's Chloe Albanesius:

Facebook is committed to resolving the complaints it has received through the Office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner and this meeting is a helpful part of that process. We will continue to work with the complainants and our regulator in Ireland in this constructive spirit.

But Europe v. Facebook isn't so sure it can trust Facebook's efforts. In a blog post, the group said:

We are even more confident that Facebook is in many ways re-interpreting that law in ways that are not stringent or complaint with the case law by the European Court of Justice.

For example, the group says Facebook has interpreted a user's failure to prevent the processing of data as consent to its use. Obviously, the viewpoints are vastly different on either side of this argument, but discussions are still open. That has to be a good thing.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 10, 2012 4:27 AM Anthony Anthony  says:

Very interesting. I thought that Facebook's user data practices would be the same in each country throughout the world, along with the explanations and accessibility of their privacy policies. Are they different because the laws in certain country's are different? Thanks for the great read Lora


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