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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Facebook Sued in EU Privacy Case

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner is currently taking a closer look at the most popular social network in the world – Facebook, trying to find out whether its actions violate the European legislation or not.

Few people know that the Facebook’s European headquarters is based in Ireland. It might seem an insignificant fact for many, but the matter is that due to this the company must respect European data legislation. However, more people are aware of the fact that recently the social network has installed a function which simply archives the users’ messages instead of deleting them. In other words, there is a good chance that the international company has been misleading users into allowing them hold onto information they believed had been gone forever.

The UK media reported that one of the Austrian law students had already successfully secured an audit of the network’s Ireland offices. He requested a copy of all the data that was held on the servers, and Facebook eventually handed it over! That’s how a CD turned up, staffed with the highly personal data, which included every Facebook’s chat. Despite the fact that most part of the material in question was believed to have been deleted, the company still had access to it.

So, if the Facebook’s house is not in order, the company will have to face penalties, including a fine of over $4,000. Moreover, if the courts deem it suitable, Facebook might even be sued for around $140,000. However, the social networking service that large is able to afford all those fines. In fact, the real stickler for the company’s European operation is proposed changes to how Facebook retains data. This is, of course, the reason why Facebook is so profitable.

The reality is that Facebook is so popular that its members are ready to agree to the company keeping track on them in any way they want. At first, it seemed that the privacy angle helped G+, but Facebook remained on top. Similarly, transparency failed to stop users from allowing both Apple and Google track them on their mobile devices. It seems that people today value social networks more than their own security and privacy. Considering the sort of information they sometimes share in the networks, it is not surprising at all. Still, there are a lot of people out there concerned about their safety.

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