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Facebook On Collision Course With New EU Privacy Laws 195

An anonymous reader writes "Facebook and other U.S. internet companies are faced with a new EU data protection regime, the Christian Science Monitor reports. U.S. concepts of free expression and commerce will battle European support for privacy and state legislation. 'Companies must understand that if they want access to 500 million consumers in the EU, then they have to comply. This is not an option,' said a spokesman for the EU Justice Commissioner."
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Facebook On Collision Course With New EU Privacy Laws

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  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @04:10AM (#38925097)
    The "U.S. concepts of free expression and commerce" mentioned are of the current Corporatist Government, and are not representative of "U.S." views. I would thank anyone writing about this to make that distinction.

    As I have been saying for years now, if you really want to look at the demographics of the United States, you really have to consider the citizens and the Federal government separately, because the Federal government has been so completely out of touch with the wants and needs of the average citizen.

    "U.S. concepts of free expression and commerce", if by that you mean the vast majority of people who live here, very much do include personal privacy. Anyone who thinks otherwise has a distorted view of what's really going on. And anyone who represents the Federal government's "views" as those of the average American citizen is likewise out of touch.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 04, 2012 @04:56AM (#38925275)
    The product facebook sale (facebook user/consumer data) will NOT be sellable in europe. See even if they go around the law, and simply say they are an US company and don't need to comply, it is still a dead end for them, ebcause the company mostly interrested in the data are not US one but EU one. Do you think will a german user data will interrest, say, target/new york ? And for local german firm, buying the data from the US will not help as they would have a high risk to be to accused of having data on their own customer and get the ire of data protection law, the law can't stop people giving it away to US where it is "lost" but as soon as it comes back to EU territory game over EU law again take hold. That data would be worst than radioactive waste to handle.

    Effectively, if facebook ignore those law / pretend they are an US company They will simply LOSE that EU market completely , as they will serve people but won't be able to do much with the data. This is why your "routing around the damage" won't work : that data in the very end is for local consumption. If the local (the firm buying the data) knows they can't use the data, then facebook is SOL and no matter how much routing or where they put their server.

    So yes, for facebook it would be a pretty bad deal.
  • Re:It's about time (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 04, 2012 @06:48AM (#38925659)
    You forget about what were called 'shadow personalities', some FB members start babbling about a third person who himself would never join this spy base and voilá, the third person is now part of the database and at the first opportunity he's going to be exploited.

    From up close I've seen this happen, my family is strongly against feeding information hoarding sites like FB and Twitter but some far off cousin decided to go on line to relieve her heart about the death of our grandmother and the illness of her aunty, things the direct family chose to keep private.


  • by TFAFalcon ( 1839122 ) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @07:49AM (#38925933)

    No no, you got it right. The current owners of Facebook are trying to get as much money out of future shareholders as they can. After the IPO is over they might start thinking about making money for them, but at the moment it's all about inflating the percieved value of the company.

  • Re:It's about time (Score:4, Informative)

    by Plunky ( 929104 ) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @09:18AM (#38926267)

    That's easily addressed, if the persons name you are tagging on a photo doesn't have a facebook account, you can't add that name. Simples.

    Facebook have pretty effective facial recognition software, which, although the results are not enabled for general use, they presumably run photos through it anyway? If your face appears in one or more pictures or your name is mentioned, no matter if you are tagged or have an account, they can start to build a profile about you. Every time you are mentioned, or tagged, they can tie more disparate facts together..

    If all this is distasteful for EU citizens, well Facebook is a US company and they can just export the data to the US and do whatever they like, right? Except now they are told that they cannot export data. Seems fair to me

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:05AM (#38926461)

    Colonialism is dead and Europe no longer controls the world.

  • Re:regime ? (Score:4, Informative)

    by lordholm ( 649770 ) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @11:23AM (#38926909) Homepage

    The main point is that the EU is planning on introducing the "right to be forgotten", that is if you terminate your Facebook account, they have to delete the data you uploaded.

    The parliament is directly elected, they in turn together with the local governments elect the Commission. The Commission does intact have the same legitimacy as most parliamentary governments.

    You thought wrong about what you believe the EU to be about, since the founding the purpose has been to lay a foundation for peace in Europe by slowly federating the member states.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.