Mac Schrems, the Austrian law student who exposed the dirty side of Facebook over a year ago hasn't given up yet. In August 2011
he requested a copy of all the data that Facebook had on him. The company sent him some basic data but he wasn't impressed.
I am very sorry to trouble you further, but I am convinced that this is not ALL data that Facebook holds about me. To give you some
examples: There must be tons of meta‐data that is used to e.g. target advertisement, rank the appearance of content on my "news
feed". There must be a detailed list of all visits and interactions with other users. There must be the Information that Facebook calls
the "social graph" and that is way more intense than the mere connections between users. Attached you find a rough list of data that
Facebook is very likely to hold about me. Note: My access request is not limited to these kinds of data! The fact that this PDF was
Facebook eventuall sent Schrems a CD with more than 1,000 pages of raw private data concerning his activities on their site.
At the heart of the matter is the difference between US and EU privacy laws. Facebook told him, "We interpret consent in a way that as
long as they don’t say no [then it’s OK]" - and that breaches EU laws. Facebook's European base is in tax-friendly Ireland, so Schrems filed
a series of complaints with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner.
Those complaints included charges that Facebook Ireland violated EU law by keeping records of "pokes" even after a user has deleted them,
collecting data on non-Facebook users as a way to create "shadow profiles," performing automatic tagging, gathering personal data via
"Friend Find," retaining records of deleted posts, retaining copies of deleted chat messages, retaining copies of deleted friends, and
Schrem set up a group called "Europe vs. Facebook" - http://europe-v-facebook.org/EN/en.html
" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; - and over 40,000 people made similar data
requests. However Facebook quickly decided to ignore most of those.
"As soon as the big round [of people came, Facebook] stopped giving access to the raw data," Schrems said. "If you don’t give out the raw
data, it’s not credible anymore."
The Irish Data Protection Commissioner was soon overwhelmed with complaints which are now advancing to the European Court of Justice. Schrems
insists that he's not out to punish Facebook... he just wants them to comply with the law. And therein lies the conundrum.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012 ... t-privacy/
"The philosophical difference, as I see it, is that Facebook believes that once they get the data, and if they are compliant, it is their data," Eoin
O’Dell, an Irish law professor at Trinity College Dublin, told Ars. "The argument on the part of the advocates is a stronger claim that privacy rights
require the data protection regime to accept that the data continues to be the data of the user, and not Facebook’s data. There’s the big
philosophical, constitutional argument."
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