Facebook, Google 'must adhere' to strict EU privacy rules

Facebook, Google 'must adhere' to strict EU privacy rules

Summary: Facebook, Google and other major social networks and sites will be forced to become compliant with EU data protection laws, and give greater rights back to the end consumer.

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Facebook, Google and other social networks and sites with a presence in Europe must heed to the European strict data privacy rules, said EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding.

Companies outside the 27-strong nation European wall, including the United States, must now begin changing their own privacy practices to continue working from within Europe.

The EU began its overhauling of its privacy laws last November, with new legislation expected to give greater powers to the end consumer, and stricter penalties for those who break the rules.

Though Facebook was not directly mentioned, it was made clear by the speech Reding gave in Brussels today that Facebook was in her sights.

From the Wall Street Journal:

"A U.S.-based social network company that has millions of active users in Europe needs to comply with EU rules. To enforce the EU law, national privacy watchdogs shall be endowed with powers to investigate and engage in legal proceedings against non-EU data controllers whose services target EU consumers."

Yet from the Guardian, it is clear that Facebook is most definitely a target for the highest data protection officer in Europe. Matthew Newman, spokesperson for Commissioner Reding said:

"A year ago she issued Facebook a warning because the privacy settings changed for the worse and now she's legislating to put flesh on those bones."

Following on from her speech last year, Reding wants users to have the right to delete data they see no longer fit for purpose on websites like Google and Facebook. Reding also made clear that companies should make clear why personal data might be collected to justify its purpose.

The European Union has enabled strict data protection rules, far greater than that of the United States, since 1998 when all European countries were told by EU directive to apply new legislation.

For European companies and US wholly owned subsidiary companies in Europe to send data from within the EU to the United States must adhere to the mutually agreed Safe Harbour principles, which dictate data privacy and security regarding to data transfer.

However, the United States has a long way to go before the European Commission deems it a fully compliant nation with its standards in regards to privacy.

Until the US legislates, all the Commission can do is legislate itself and force privately held companies like Google and Facebook to comply, to retain its presence in the region.

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31 comments
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  • Sometimes even EU commission does good things, because, leaved unwatched,

    ... both Google and Facebook would sell out everything on everybody to left and to the rights "to provide better service" = "to get more money from advertisers", exposing your identity to every crook who pays even very little dime for a contextual advertisements.
    DDERSSS
    • RE: Facebook, Google 'must adhere' to strict EU privacy rules

      @denisrs

      Leaved should be left, but other than that, you are right. Google, Facebook and any other company would be G L A D to sell your information to everyone under the sun if they were allowed to.
      Lerianis10
      • RE: Facebook, Google 'must adhere' to strict EU privacy rules

        @Lerianis10 of course they would love to sell your information at the drop of a hat. How much do they know about each of us? <a title="texas real estate attorney" href="http://kellylegalgroup">texas real estate attorney</a>
        esm2012
    • There is a solution - make data worthless

      @denisrs Check out Breadcrumbs Bogus identity, it let you fool trackers and let them know that they are gathering false information - in that case it will cost more to collect and analyze the data then its real value (since its bogus)
      www.breadcrumbssolutions.com
      Privacy man
    • RE: Facebook, Google 'must adhere' to strict EU privacy rules

      @denisrs Actually, compliance should be relatively easy for Google since they already have a dashboard listing private data and tools to delete that data. Facebook, on the other hand, is in a world of hurt.
      daengbo
  • RE: Facebook, Google 'must adhere' to strict EU privacy rules

    Facebook doesn't comply with any Privacy, and even if you delete [not suspend] your profile, the moment you create a new profile with the same old email address, FB "suggests" friends you might wish to connect with .... all from your old profile. So much for deleting.
    jebact
    • RE: Facebook, Google 'must adhere' to strict EU privacy rules

      @jebact

      How long are you waiting before trying to make the new profile, idiot? Even GOOGLE waits 6 months before totally deleting an old account, because someone might change their mind and want to re-enable the account.
      Lerianis10
      • RE: Facebook, Google 'must adhere' to strict EU privacy rules

        @Lerianis10 How rude. Think 2 months is sufficient. And that is NOT the issue. When you delete something, it shouldnt be on anyone's servers for long. And if you ever decide to DELETE not DISABLE your Facebook, it tells you its a ONE WAY process and takes 14 days. So learn some manners moron :)
        jebact
  • Meanwhile EU Commission

    Has made Europe into an oppressive surveillance state in the name of security.
    Privacy be damned, I want democracy and these unelected appointees ejected from power.
    guihombre
    • RE: Facebook, Google 'must adhere' to strict EU privacy rules

      @guihombre LOL. So you are a European Federalist! Nice :)
      jebact
    • I actually agree with you on that

      @guihombre
      Will Farrell
  • Tis a good plan

    but Google will do what Google does best -- they'll circumvent the law and steal your personal data anyway.
    iPad-awan
    • Google does not &quot;steal&quot; your data; you give it to them willingly

      when you use any of their services.
      adornoe
      • RE: Facebook, Google 'must adhere' to strict EU privacy rules

        @adornoe@...

        Incorrect. They have their tracking servers plugged into almost all web sites on the internet collecting your information without any notice on these pages telling you so. Do a little more research. Why do you think people enable tracking protection on their browsers? Because of GMail by itself or because surfing anywhere on the web will collect your information and transmit back to Google? Also with their UIC (Unique Identifying Cookies) you get from any of their services get stored on your machine and when you visit other sites Google knows it is you not anonymous usage statistics. Also with the track record Google has with privacy and lying time and time again or wifi snooping which they apparently had no idea they were doing... Which is obvious BS since the wifi controllers and hard drives for those controllers and software to pull that information didn't accidentally make it into their streetview cars... They were placed there for a reason and placed there by Google. I could keep going on but I need not... Thanks to people in Germany this is common knowledge now.
        audidiablo
      • audidiablo: How does Google get a hold of my data if I don't use them?

        If I stay away from their services, including search and GMail and others, how do they get any of my information? Are they "plugged in" to Hotmail or Yahoo Email, or ZDNet or any other site that is not a Google service? If they are stealing cookie information from my PC that was store by some other website, then I would agree with you. But, wouldn't that be a specialized form of spying or spyware?

        My best use policy is to try to stay away from anything Google, and that doesn't include Yahoo or MSN or any other website I visit.
        adornoe
    • Who do the EU think they are demanding anything from Google?

      @iPad-awan
      [/sarcasm]
      Will Farrell
  • RE: Facebook, Google 'must adhere' to strict EU privacy rules

    Google does not steal data - your provide it freely to them in order to use THEIR services - come-on, read the 25 page 8 pt Times New Roman EULA - its all right there (all 60 to 100 EULAs depending on what you use of Google!)

    The EU just adds on a 15,000 page EULA to Google to comply with their rules in order for them to operate in the EU.

    Of course the EU restricts what a company can do, but there really are no restrictions as to what the EU can do with the data they collect as far as I have ever read. Data collected by them can be freely shared among all departments of the EU without consent of those same people they protect from companies operating in the EU.
    It operates totally opposite from the USA, we have laws limiting what Government can do with information it collects (we worry that the Government will become a totalarian state targting people "it" does not like) and very few limits as to what companies can do with data they collect from people.
    TAPhilo
    • RE: Facebook, Google 'must adhere' to strict EU privacy rules

      @TAPhilo Might want to Google "EU Privacy" and have a better look. The EU has one of the strongest laws regarding privacy in the world. As for the "15,000 page EULA to Google", an exaggerated exaggeration there lol. Companies should not be storing information that is not required, and the article is about just that. Facebook is the biggest culprit in not protecting personal information. They keep changing their rules to suit their desire to make more and more money whilst reducing one's privacy. Dont know about you, but "private" means "no-one else's business" - something Facebook doesnt seem to understand.
      jebact
    • RE: Facebook, Google 'must adhere' to strict EU privacy rules

      @TAPhilo

      Once again someone who goes by what they write in their EULA versus what they actually do behind the scenes...

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/14/google-private-data-colle_n_577015.html

      Last time I checked they did that and without anyone's consent. They "mistakenly" do so... I guess that makes it okay and that future mistakes will not occur? You must be a Google shill.
      audidiablo
    • You're not understanding what I'm saying...

      When you use use any Google service, you're allowing Google to collect your data, and it doesn't matter whether Google discloses that fact in the EULA or not. People should already be aware that Google's business practices is to collect and mine that data in order to further enrich themselves.

      If people are not aware of what Google is about, then they should become aware, and ignorance of Google's practices is not going to change what Google does.

      Google is not going to place a "permission required" pop-up on your screen in order to let you know that they're going to be "stealing" your information. They're going to take your information whether you're aware of it or not.

      The biggest problem with Google capturing and using your data is that, it's the people who are allowing it to happen by the mere fact of using any of Google's services. Stay away from any Google service and chances are that, they'll have less to collect about you and your browsing habits.
      adornoe