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Facebook Government Social Networks Your Rights Online

France Launches Second Salvo Against Facebook (liberation.fr) 84

Eunuchswear writes: After Mondays decision by the French CNIL (National Center for Computers and Freedom) that Facebook must stop tracking non-users, the DGCCRF (General Direction for Competition, Consumption and Repression of Fraud), has ruled that Facebooks terms of use are abusive and must be changed within 60 days." The linked story is in French, but for those of us who don't speak the language, Google translate works. Here's the DGCCRF's Facebook page.
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France Launches Second Salvo Against Facebook

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  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Thursday February 11, 2016 @04:46AM (#51485641)

    Knowing nothing about French law, is there anything Facebook-specific that led to this ruling? Is there a reason it wouldn't apply to other third-party tracking? For example Doubleclick and those kinds of networks track me across the web even if I've never signed up for an account with them or otherwise accepted their ToS.

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @04:59AM (#51485677)

      Probably mostly that politicians can't see cookies as easily as they can see FB.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        This has nothing to do with tracking. The unfair terms that they are objecting to are the bit in the TOS that says they can unilaterally change the TOS any time they like and users can't do anything about it.

        Keep in mind that you can't ever delete your Facebook account, so if you object to a change you can't stop them applying it to your data by closing your account and terminating your relationship with them.

        • So you say, what's on the internet stays on the internet?

        • You replied to someone discussing this from TFS:

          After Mondays decision by the French CNIL (National Center for Computers and Freedom) that Facebook must stop tracking non-users,

          The French have an issue with FBs tracking (likely through the Like button used all over the web), they also have issues with the TOS, which likely also apply to have the internet, likely including many French web sites. But it is fashionable to attack American companies right now...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2016 @05:58AM (#51485767)

      We all know that there are many, many trackers on the web; many of them are not visible to end users *at all*. But you have to start somewhere. Besides, Facebook has way more data than any of them because not only can they assign a unique ID to you and make inferences based on your browsing habits, they know exactly who you are, your name, who your friends and enemies are, your politics, sexual preferences... basically everything. Even if you don't have an account they've got this data because your friends tag you in photos.

      Furthermore, Facebook gives you privacy settings, but how they behave are less than obvious... your pictures can be found by anybody with the link, for example. Facebook reserves the right to change your privacy settings without notifying you first. This is clearly illegal in Europe: just because there is a EULA does not mean that visitors waive their rights under European law.

      Most importantly, to me anyway, is that in Europe you can request that firms delete data that they have on you. Facebook does not do this. They simply flag an account as "deleted", but they keep it. Try it yourself if you dare: delete your account, wait a couple of weeks, and create a new one. Without doing anything, all of your old "friends" will pop up in the friend suggestions... because they already know who they are.

      I had a FB profile for a couple of weeks in 2008 or so, and "deleted" it. I regret that deeply because I have no way of actually deleting it and I know that FB is quietly and automatically collating everything it can on me. I'm Belgian, so at least they can't set their tracking cookie any more, but the issue is still not redressed. I really am grateful to France for fighting the good fight on this one.

      • Try it yourself if you dare: delete your account, wait a couple of weeks, and create a new one. Without doing anything, all of your old "friends" will pop up in the friend suggestions... because they already know who they are.

        You know, while you're correct about what they're doing, this doesn't prove anything at all. All they have to do is keep a record of your email address as a past friend on everyone else's accounts. Then they could completely scrub your account, and this would still happen.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've lived and worked in France for 15 years now and in the job I'm in have had to deal with the CNIL and the "Informatique et Liberté" law. Basically, if you collect information about a person you are required to declare it to the CNIL, inform the person you are collecting the data about your collection, give the person teh right and the means to examine the data you are collecting about them and finally the right to modify the data collected in case of error.

      In the case of cookies, the data is on you

    • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

      Monday's ruling is the result of an action concerning nonsubscriber tracking (AKA thid party cookies). Tuesday's concerns unfair contract terms (which is such a problem across all private industry, most European countries have had legislation in place for YEARS to deal with it) which "allow" Facebook to unilaterally delete content, co-opt content, change contract terms without notice... yes, Facebook's ToU for the European sector specifies that content posted by users belongs to Facebook (Section 2 paragrap

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by aliquis ( 678370 )

        Why care about Facebook anyway?

        * It clearly doesn't care about privacy.
        * It have no consistent behavior for what it allows and not (report one post/group once and it likely remain, have lots of people do it and it's removed.)
        * It don't provide much freedom and don't act as an enabling medium for expressing your opinion and hence does not help with the lack of freedom of speech in Europe.
        * It's run by a migration activist who want to fight Europeans who want to have their people, culture, society and self-ru

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          >hence does not help with the lack of freedom of speech in Europe.

          Aaah, American Exceptionalism at work -the average European citizen has for more, and more practical capacity to make use of, freedom of speech than the US does. Talk to me again when you can watch golden-shower fetish porn on national TV at 1pm in the Afternoon in America ! A few places ban specific forms of hatespeech - but so does the US (just not quite as stringently) and I would never be convinced that hatespeech against a minority is

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Yep, French TV regularly has adverts on during the day with topless women. Europe is much less up tight about such things and thus much more liberal than US broadcasting rules.

            Europe and the US have different kinds of freedom. The US has a little less government interference, the EU has a lot more guarantees. You can't really compare them numerically, only state a preference for one or the other type.

        • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

          Sure [twitter.com], I'll [twitter.com] buy [twitter.com] that [independent.co.uk], yeah [theverge.com], alrightythen [betanews.com].

          • by aliquis ( 678370 )

            Regarding the first one that seem to cover person to person poor behavior rather than the wrong opinions at large.

            Second one doesn't mention what I do ("racism", "hatred", anti-immigration, anti-authority, anti-media, blasphemy, ridiculing feminism, ridiculing Islam, ridiculing socialism, ..)

            Regarding the third one I'm from Sweden, 0.

            Four isn't my problem either, but sure. If it's not stolen pictures I don't see why though. If they are used as ads and that's not allowed then fine. I get such followers every

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2016 @06:11AM (#51485809)

      The problem is that Facebook holds personally identifiable information, which is a breach of the European Data Protection Directive.

      In Europe you cannot as a company hold identifying personal data on an individual unless you have legitimate reason to do so, reasons include things such as:

      - They have given their permission for you to have the data

      - You're working under a law enforcement or similar exemption

      - You're being contracted to process the data on behalf of a company that has been given permission (but you cannot do anything other than process it as contracted - i.e. you cannot sell it on or use it yourself)

      So if someone has signed up to Facebook, they've given permission for it to hold personal information. But if they have never signed up, and say, someone tags them in a photo with their name, then Facebook is breaking the law (other people cannot give consent for a company to hold your personal information). The problem is that Facebook links all this together with tracking, and so builds a whole personal profile on people it has no legal basis to do so.

      It's possible that other ad companies also infringe too, but whether they get this treatment depends on whether an explicit complaint has been made. Most companies however are really just identifying a computer or browser, and whilst some jurisdictions class this in itself as personal data not all do, if France doesn't then it's easy to see why simple cookie tracking doesn't fall under the same laws as tracking people and trying to associate it with clearly identifiable information such as pictures of people, who they know, and so forth. The problem for Facebook is that they're intent on collecting not merely anonymised identifying data, but non-anonymised identifying data. Most ad networks don't really care what your name is, just what you are likely to want to buy. Facebook wants your name, address, telephone number, list of friends and family, and pictures of every moment of your life.

      The point of these data protection laws is that people should be able to have a choice to have no association with a company, to have a choice for companies not to hold data on them, and Facebook is clearly ignoring that choice - it's trying to gather data and build profiles on everyone, including people who don't want Facebook to have a profile on them.

      Which isn't to say I'm defending the likes of Doubleclick and Google, frankly I hate all tracking and think that the anonymised data used by ad networks isn't and can't ever be anonymised enough such that it should be any more legal without consent. But as it stands this is an evolving area of law in most countries and there's non consistency on whether anonymised (no matter how poorly) data is personal data or not.

      I also think it's worth bearing in mind that companies like Facebook are inevitably going to come under more scrutiny because of their tax situations. They use the argument for avoiding corporation tax that they're probably not technically breaking the law because the loopholes they use are in a grey area and aren't explicitly banned. Given that it's not really surprising that authorities decide that if they want to play that game that maybe it's time to examine where they technically are breaking the law and start to enforce it a bit more anally too.

      Companies like Facebook can't really complain about having the law enforced against them when they like to make such a fuss about how they're not breaking the law when it comes to things like tax. They really can't have it both ways - expect the law to be treated explicitly when it suits them in exploiting a loophole, but not expect it to be treated explicitly arguing over-reach when they're actually in breach of it elsewhere. Either you have a view that the law should be treated explicitly as written in which case they really need to accept their guilt here and do the necessary, or you believe that the law can't ever cover every edge case and believe there should be some leeway allowing people to foll

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Facebook is quite bad, but what Facebook knows is a pale shadow of what Google knows. Facebook has their "like buttons" sprinkled all around the web, though easily blocked, but Google is embedded so far into the fabric of the modern web that they know for all practical purposes everything you have ever done, seen, bought, read, written, where you are in real time throughout the day, and much, much more.. Employers store their documents on Google drive, and sign you up for gmail accounts when you accept jo

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Sure, but it doesn't have my name, address, telephone number, date of birth, bank details, credit history and so on and so forth, which is really what data protection laws cover.

          Rightly or wrongly it doesn't matter that Google knows I was looking to buy something or other on a specific date - it has a hell of a profile on what I've bought, watched, read, but it still doesn't know my name, where I live, or how to contact me, because I haven't given it permission. I'm a nameless profile of shopping and browsi

          • by HydrusZ ( 539461 )

            Facebook however, illegal acquires this data, because other people have given it my name because it allows that, and tagged their location at my address, installed the Facebook app on their phone where it harvests their contacts of which one is mine with my name and phone number and so on, and so forth.

            Facebook could solve this problem easily - just ban tagging of non-Facebook members, stop harvesting data it's not legally entitled to from people's phones and so forth.

            The Facebook mobile app does not have access to the device's contacts. Photos yes, location usually, but not contacts.

      • But unless servers are hosted inside of France, does French law really apply? Can it be enforced? They can levy all the fines they want, but unless Facebook exists as an entity inside of that country, does that country really have any jurisdiction?

        I run a few sites hosted in the US and I know that they would violate laws of Saudi Arabia. Can they come sue me?

        Many porn sites show nipples and the tips of penises. Can they be sued by Japan, who demands such things be covered by little black boxes?

        If a local to

        • They can levy all the fines they want, but unless Facebook exists as an entity inside of that country, does that country really have any jurisdiction?

          http://www.societe.com/societe/facebook-france-530085802.html [societe.com]

          FACEBOOK FRANCE
          Société : 530085802

          108 AVENUE DE WAGRAM
          75017 PARIS
          FRANCE

    • Dear Facebook, just cut french users off until they pressure their government to get real.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      For example Doubleclick and those kinds of networks track me across the web even if I've never signed up for an account with them or otherwise accepted their ToS.

      Are you sure? I mean, you probably did, probably for GMail or YouTube or some other Google thing. Or an Android phone.

      I know Google loves to hide the fact that they own the majority of ad networks out there so everyone THINKS they only do the text ads, but no, Google owns the major ad networks like DoubleClick (they acquired them so many years ago

  • not speaking is not the same as not reading...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    When will EU inspect the datamining that Windows 10 does?
    • Just wait for it.

      The level of information gathering is beyond acceptable for European standards. Major companies will fear sensitive data will end up via NSA with competitors. They will complain, action will follow.

      patience is a virtue, till then, don't use Windows 10 in your organisation.

      • > Major companies will fear sensitive data will end up via NSA with competitors. They will complain, action will follow.

        They know it _will_ end up in government hands. They remember well the record keeping used against those with unpopular political or religious beliefs inside the Iron Curtain, before the fall of the Soviet Union and the shift of countries to EU membership. A very few people in the EU are left who can remember the detailed record keeping used to find and discover Jews, gypsies, gays, th

    • by Teun ( 17872 )
      A very valid and interesting question, regretfully Nellie Kroes, the old EU commissioner responsible, found another job...
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