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Facebook On Collision Course With New EU Privacy Laws

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the ramming-speed dept.

Facebook 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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First! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38924975)

First first post!

Re:First! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38924989)

Fuck off.

Re:First! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925151)

First "fuck off"! :-)

Re:First! (-1, Offtopic)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925165)

Looks like the second one to me.

U.S. concepts of free expression (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38924977)

"U.S. concepts of free expression" wow!

Re:U.S. concepts of free expression (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925065)

You're free to express what you like, as long as what you express agrees with Glorious Obama's Ministry of Truth party line.

Re:U.S. concepts of free expression (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925105)

You're free to express what you like, as long as what you express agrees with Glorious Obama's Ministry of Truth party line.

we will haul these yanks in yet they think they own the freakin world not a hope in feckin hell , Mind you FB twatter ect ect can all go play they aint got nowt to tie me down all false (and will stay that way) and as for tracking my IP have fun last time i checked it wa in excess of 300 miles out 180 before that i dont need to hide behind TOR the internet does it for me .. And as for Obamaramadingdong well nuff said surprised the rednecks aint got there yet but they will Oh yes they will ..

Re:U.S. concepts of free expression (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925239)

Not to mention the strange use of the words "regime" and "battle" and the Orwellian language of the article. But what did we expect from the Christian Science Monitor? While on the one hand winning multiple Pulitzers, and being fairly left-right neutral, it is well known for its corporate bias. The EU data protection laws won't harm freedom of expression as defined in the First Amendment, but will prevent companies from making a profit of selling private user data. Hence, the CSM wants to agitate against that, but because of its readership it cannot do so by simply stating this. The result is this article.

Re:U.S. concepts of free expression (4, Insightful)

Malc (1751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38926083)

Freedom of expression as defined in the First Amendment is irrelevant in Europe. It wouldn't matter if EU data protection laws violated that amendment. At the end of the day, US companies have to decide if they want access to the market in the EU area or not.

Re:U.S. concepts of free expression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38926201)

Heck, these days it seems that US interweb companies have been falling over themselves to develop features for preventing freedom of expression, on the whims of foreign governments.

It's about time (5, Insightful)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#38924985)

Facebook (and other operators, such as google) need to understand that they don't have a "right" to sell any and all information they can gather. If they can't meet the rules, someone else will be happy to do so and take their users away from them. That's what competition is about.

Re:It's about time (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38924995)

and consumers have to understand that not everything is for free and maybe free sites should start charging for usage

Re:It's about time (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925071)

that may be but users should not have to dig through mountains of legaleze to understand that the service is offered to them ONLY because they agree to let complete strangers comprehensively know every last interaction they make with the service, potentially exposing to those people more about their lives than even the user knows about themselves.

It's not just counting clicks, it's building an entire psychology about each person, beyond reasonable survey-like data gathering. *THAT* little detail is what the users should be very weary of.

Re:It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925519)

Its a fucking no-brainer: if you don't want a website or company selling your information, don't give it to the.

Re:It's about time (5, Insightful)

slashdyke (873156) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925615)

It is not quite that simple. If Joe uploads a photo, and tags a face as belonging to you, and then Mary uploads a photo with a face that matches and also says it belongs to you, it does not take facebook very long to know what you look like, and who you might know even though you do not have a facebook account.

Re:It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38926013)

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.

Re:It's about time (3, Informative)

Plunky (929104) | more than 2 years ago | (#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

Re:It's about time (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

--
Teun

Re:It's about time (2)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925083)

and consumers have to understand that not everything is for free and maybe free sites should start charging for usage

What does that have to do with respecting privacy laws? Oh, right ... nothing.

If Facebook can't compete while respecting local privacy laws, that's their problem. Someone else will fill the gap - not that it matters much in the long run - all the so-called "social media" will be dead within a decade or so, when technology gets to the point that everyones' devices become their own "personal cloud" and they (and only they) set what can and cannot be shared with others, since it will all be self-hosted.

Re:It's about time (4, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925115)

Corporations will still want to build privacy invasive data bases and mine that information. Privacy laws means that not matter what type of business you, when you hold other peoples data you will have to adhere to those laws and when you are caught out you will be subject to prosecution.

Facebook has become a glaring example of privacy invasion. Facebook will also have to start thinking about it's users invading the privacy of other users and posting information that contravenes privacy laws.

Re:It's about time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38926099)

You're a glaring example of a dumb asshat. If you want something kept private? Don't fucking post it! What is so hard for you pea-brained motherfuckers to understand about this concept?

Re:It's about time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925617)

"If Facebook can't compete while respecting local privacy laws,"
Remember these are European laws which by definition are not to be taken seriously.

Now please mod me "informative".

Re:It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925919)

"If Facebook can't compete while respecting local privacy laws,"
Remember these are European laws which by definition are not to be taken seriously.

Now please mod me "informative".

Yeah sure, right after you ask Microsoft if they liked being fined 800 milion $ which they had to pay and payed.

Re:It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925263)

So that we pay for the rest of our lives? not just the time we used the website?
Yes that is fair.

Re:It's about time (1)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925345)

Facebook (and other operators, such as google) need to understand that they don't have a "right" to sell any and all information they can gather. If they can't meet the rules, someone else will be happy to do so and take their users away from them. That's what competition is about.

I sense some optimism in your post. My understanding is, in US they are pretty much free to do what they want. The only thing that delays them a little are occasional outrage bursts (beacon program that got scrapped, timeline that didn't).
Also, there is little competition in this field. Entry costs are _very_ high and without a large user base, no one is going to switch.

Re:It's about time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925349)

They don't "sell" any information they gather. Saying otherwise means you really do not understand their business model. They compete on the information they gather because that information allows them to build better services. Personalized ads or what have you. Selling, giving away or even leaking information undermines their business model.

Re:It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925475)

Good. I'm delighted! It's good to see that Europeans haven't completely turned to Sheeple on the Internets. Oh, yeah, Facebook SUCKS! That Facebook is as popular as it is just goes to show how humanity has degraded. Facebookers, most of them, are nothing but a bunch of weak-minded followers. Welcome to the 21st century, where everyone is "connected" so that companies can better sell them shit. How stupid can people be? JP Morgan is licking its chops, and so are all the early-in Facebookers. Wankers.

Re:It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925501)

But... information wants to be free...

Re:It's about time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925653)

"On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other." - Stewart Brand, Hackers' Conference 1984.

Seems a bit more realistic when you don't just pick 5 words from it, doesn't it?

Re:It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925809)

I'd be glad to have competition. But this isn't competition, this is regulation.

regime ? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925029)

... U.S. internet companies are faced with a new EU data protection "regime" ...

newspeak ? the word "regime" should be used at EU Govts. ?

mmaaaa... EU are axis of evil "regimes", they do not let our companies do douchebaggery which is our way of life !!! they want accountability... !!! how dare they !!!

Re:regime ? (5, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925401)

newspeak ?

Nothing but newspeak!
"U.S. concepts of free expression and commerce will battle European support for privacy and state legislation."
I think what the summary is trying to say that company coming from corporation-controlled US will suddenly encounter an actual user-privacy law. There is nothing about free expression (though something about commerce) in selling user's data to everyone who is willing to buy it. Even if corporations are (apparently) people, selling their user's data is not free expression of speech.

Re:regime ? (-1, Troll)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925599)

Sorry, are people in Europe forced to use Facebook?

Is it some big secret that if you post a photo on Facebook then your friends can view it? Are Europeans all severely intellectually handicapped or young children who can't make decisions for themselves?

Then why do you want a large, non-elected, multinational government making up the rules? I thought this EU thing was about economic freedom, not a way to write laws for multiple countries at once.

Re:regime ? (5, Insightful)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925813)

European parliament is elected, the commission (government) isn't elected directly, it is appointed by the parliament. Still, we have a choice of more than two parties.

And yes, everybody is "forced" to use Facebook. Most people get tagged on photos sooner or later, even if they don't have an account. FB finds out information you might not be willing to release: birthday, phone numbers, where you live, who your friends are, what your password for your mail account is... if a friend releases that information about you, it doesn't even require an intervention, decision on your part.

Re:regime ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38926139)

Quoting from http://europa.eu/about-eu/basic-information/index_en.htm

What began as a purely economic union has evolved into an organisation spanning all areas, from development aid to environmental policy.

Re:regime ? (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38926195)

The word regime has multiple meanings.
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/regime [merriam-webster.com]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regime [wikipedia.org]
The article title clearly means "set of conditions" or "regimen" in this context.

CSM is one of very few English newspapers left with a high-school level of language. I'd prefer to keep it that way, though seeing your post get modded to +5 makes it clear why other newspapers are now written at middle school or even grade school reading levels.

It should be noted that... (3, Insightful)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925061)

...Facebook's first priority is no longer its users' privacy (if it ever had been). Its first priority now is making money from its shareholders. From advertising space to per-click charges for using its authentication protocols and other bits of code, Facebook has other avenues of revenue than selling user data. Having close on a billion accounts live right now is a bonus for Facebook, as it shows a more or less loyal customer base for any other company that seeks a captive target.

Hence, deeply personal data you might find on FB that might find its way into some other company's database or metric for them to use to tailor their product to a target consumer, is unlikely to be uniquely identifiable - it's infinitely more likely to be statistical in nature. The single most likely candidates for individual monitoring would be those already on watch lists or those who trip warning triggers (yes, there is tech out there to monitor even "closed" or spiderproofed websites: that the police in the UK can access locked down Facebook accounts (seen it) as though the pages were Wayback mirrored is evidence enough of that).

Re:It should be noted that... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925067)

from its shareholders? I meant *for* its shareholders! It's 8am, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Re:It should be noted that... (3, Informative)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 should be noted that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925093)

Another argument supporting the position that Facebook is for idiots. His objective from the very begging was to sell as much information as he could about FB users.

Just look at his texts on that -
Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don't know why.
Zuck: They "trust me"
Zuck: Dumb fucks.

Re:It should be noted that... (5, Insightful)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925103)

It's not just statistical data - all those "Like" buttons - when any page with a "Like" button is displayed, it makes a call to facebooks' servers, sending your unique id to facebook to let them know you've seen that page. So over time, facebook develops a rather complete profile of your browsing habits. And no, you don't have to be logged in for this to work.

It's stuff like this that advertisers - and anyone else with "preferential access" (police, etc.) get. Think of it - others have a more complete history of your browsing habits than you do. Facebook is the new cyber-stalker.

Re:It should be noted that... (1)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925369)

Facebook's first priority is no longer its users' privacy (if it ever had been).

[sarcasm]Yeah, Facebook started out as a shining beacon of user's privacy and gradually became corrupted by the allure of ad selling.[/sarcasm>]. The only thing that prevented them from selling data on the first day is that they probably didn't have enough of it until the user-base grew. Any why aren't there any laws in US providing some protection to the users and their data? If Europe seems to have some

Re:It should be noted that... (2)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925575)

Its first priority now is making money for its shareholders.

Not even that. The first priority is always top executives' pay. Stock price is merely a tool to get that. And long-term profit is not even on the radar.

Government and Corporations are not The People (5, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Government and Corporations are not The People (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925413)

Don'tya just love it when somebody mods you "redundant" because you are later in the sequence he read, but actually made the first such comment (as clearly shown by the timestamp)?

Sometimes, I get a real charge out of the quality of "conversation" on Slashdot. Other times, like now, I am reminded that while it might be better than average, there are still some real bozos here. (squeak, squeak)

What power have laws, in this digital age? (0, Troll)

znerk (1162519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925123)

'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,'

The EU legislation needs to learn the same lesson that the US legislators haven't learned yet... The internet is a flexible, resilient system that will route around damage, and attempts to censor it only end up hurting the censor's pockets and/or public image. See the Google vs. China debacle [cnn.com] last year, for one high-profile (and perhaps high-profit) example. Alternatively, type "SOPA" or "PIPA" into your favorite search engine, and see the raging fire of the responses.

Not only do I think the EU's new privacy laws will be (by and large) ignored, but I think FaceBook will only pay attention if their users band together in ridiculously large numbers to complain... by making a FaceBook page about it.

The problem here boils down to "we make more money with this scheme than your piddly little fines can ever hope to 'punish' us", and "we're not even based in your country, so your laws mean precisely as much as we allow them to" ... besides, it's not like these sites are providing a public service, or coercing people's "private" information. If you want to play the game, you gotta give your name. Wanna play some more? Give us your cell phone number. Don't like giving away your "private" info to just any website that asks? Be more selective about the stuff you do online, and only transact with sites you trust and/or don't actually care about the information they want. Or do what many are already doing, and simply lie.

At what point did everyone forget that old axiom "Knowledge is Power"? Or does no one make the connection between money, power, and knowledge? Does no one realize that it is just as easy to use the equation "Money = Power = Information"?

On to slightly unrelated, and yet completely relevant discussion:

We're at a strange place in a legal sense - there are thousands of unenforceable laws on the books, most of them about ridiculously convoluted methods of acquiring things/money/information in an illicit fashion, and yet there are literally billions of people who care so little about these "minor details" that they have "illegal" music on their portable audio devices. Even the copyright-enforcement people have been caught "stealing" music and video from the original artists [torrentfreak.com] . (Yeah, I know, the source would seem to be biased, but it was the second result for a google query "copyright agency caught stealing music", and the first actually relevant one... interestingly enough, this article about the Dutch having this issue wasn't even the one I was looking for - the first case I heard about was in Canada).

At some point, the laws aren't going to be worth the paper the warrants aren't even printed on anymore. It's fairly apparent that it's all about an outmoded system's power grab, just like the ??AA's money grab with the copyright legislation. The danger here is that the system is getting so absurd that no one will pay attention to any of the laws, because the only ones with any actual threat of punishment are ones that they can't enforce, due to the sheer number of people breaking them.

As an example, when this new American health-care reform thing goes through, and everyone is "required" to carry health insurance, I'm wondering what the response will be if someone refuses... will they arrest them for being sick and going to a hospital? If so, the American taxpayer will feed them, clothe them, house them, and pay for their healthcare - as "punishment" for not paying astronomical fees for what amounts to legalized gambling (and what else can you call insurance, really?)

The only upside to being a "good citizen" any more, obeying the ever-increasing (and ever-more-absurd) laws being generated by some guys in another state (which might as well be another country, for all that they have any idea what their "constituents" actually want) is being able to have a beer and play WoW... assuming you're over the legal age, of course, and agree to whatever is in that EULA and ToS they display after each major patch every month or so for you to scroll through without reading so you can click the "Accept" button and go play. Anything more than that might run you afoul of the law, and get you hauled in for reprocessing... err... renumeration... uhm... restitution... punishment!

Bad Netizen! You can't play flash games until you give us $300 and tie your cellphone's GPS to this website. Now go home, stay indoors, and behave like a good little tax-paying consumer...

Re:What power have laws, in this digital age? (2)

ebbe11 (121118) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925241)

The problem here boils down to "we make more money with this scheme than your piddly little fines can ever hope to 'punish' us",

Piddly as in what Microsoft faced in 2006 [bbc.co.uk] ? Admittedly, that situation was different but that kind of fines are not what I think of as "piddly".

and "we're not even based in your country, so your laws mean precisely as much as we allow them to"

How come Google are bending over backwards to follow chinese censoring laws? Google is based in US too and by your argument the should not have to care about those laws at all - yet they do.

... besides, it's not like these sites are providing a public service, or coercing people's "private" information. If you want to play the game, you gotta give your name. Wanna play some more? Give us your cell phone number. Don't like giving away your "private" info to just any website that asks? Be more selective about the stuff you do online, and only transact with sites you trust and/or don't actually care about the information they want. Or do what many are already doing, and simply lie.

Agreed - and that is indeed why I do not have a Facebook login.

Re:What power have laws, in this digital age? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925389)

"Piddly as in what Microsoft faced in 2006? ..."

Ahem... Yes, "piddly". When Bill Gates personally, much less Microsoft, is worth over $60 BILLION, a fine of $357 Million is "piddly". The purpose of such fines it to be "punitive" and "preventative", which means that they are supposed to demonstrate that it is unproductive for companies to engage in such practices. But when the results are not high enough to be "preventative" -- as they have generally not been for many years -- they do not discourage such practices at all! Instead, they simply share the wealth with Government.

And that answers most of the rest of your argument. Except:

How come Google are bending over backwards to follow chinese censoring laws?

Because they make sh*tloads of money by being in China. I have to wonder how that escaped your attention.

Re:What power have laws, in this digital age? (1)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 2 years ago | (#38926007)

[...]

Agreed - and that is indeed why I do not have a Facebook login.

And still, if you have enough friends with a FB login, lots of your private information is already in FB. They're very good at this.

It is simply you which don't understand (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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:What power have laws, in this digital age? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925347)

On the contrary, I think they can threaten facebook with enough fines to make them change policy, at least for users in the EU. The issue is not that facebook would be 'banned'; that's practically impossible. But what could happen is that facebook would be required to have stricter rules in place for pages served in Europe, similar to the way eBay removes certain items depending on what country you search from. If facebook really doesn't want to play ball they can try to force the issue with the U.S. government, which has been known to push for companies based in other countries to be made to comply with its laws.

Re:What power have laws, in this digital age? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925457)

Facebook will simply no longer serve pages from Europe. Problem solved.

Re:What power have laws, in this digital age? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925989)

Good

Re:What power have laws, in this digital age? (2)

Corbets (169101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925371)

The new regulations recently proposed by the European Commision can result in fines of up to 2% of revenues. Not profits, revenues. That's not puddly by anyone's definition.

Additionally, the EU is perfectly willing to prevent EU companies from dealing with non-EU companies who don't comply. If FaceBook doesn't have EU advertisers on their system, all EU users suddenly become a drain on FaceBook resources for no gain. Yet if they leave the market, previously 2nd-rate competitors (such as Google+) get a huge surge in Europe, which may / will help them break into other markets.

In the end, FaceBook will comply.

Re:What power have laws, in this digital age? (2)

wosmo (854535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925391)

"we're not even based in your country, so your laws mean precisely as much as we allow them to"

They do have a footprint in Europe, which is why they had the Irish Data Commissioner crawling around for 3 months last year. Multinational means multi-juristictional too, something to do with having your cake and eating it.

Re:What power have laws, in this digital age? (1, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925469)

"Multinational means multi-jurisdictional too, something to do with having your cake and eating it." [spelling corrected]

Actually, that is not the case at all. In a very real sense (and completely aside from the whole "cloud computing" hype), the Internet can be considered to be an information resource that is simply "out there", for anybody who wants to to visit.

It is not "intrusive" in any way. If countries want to block it, they have both the facilities and ability to block it.

Instead, what they have done is to try to force EVERYTHING on the internet to be the "lowest common denominator", and show only content that is acceptable to everybody, in the entire world. And to say that is unrealistic is probably the understatement of the century.

And it's also complete bullshit. You are in charge of your own home, and you can decide what you want your family to watch on TV, or see on the Internet, or whatever. If you are a country, you are free to block whatever content you want into your own country, at least in the sense of what citizens are willing to put up with.

But... you DO NOT have the right to force others to use technologies for censorship, or ANYTHING of that sort. If you want to censor, you are free to do so. But stop putting the onus on others simply because YOU are some kind of religious extremist or anal-retentive of some other sort.

Re:What power have laws, in this digital age? (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925805)

"Multinational means multi-jurisdictional too, something to do with having your cake and eating it." [spelling corrected]

Actually, that is not the case at all.

A multinational corporation - by definition - operates in multiple nations, and hence under multiple legal jurisdictions.

Re:What power have laws, in this digital age? (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925821)

"we make more money with this scheme than your piddly little fines can ever hope to 'punish' us", and "we're not even based in your country, so your laws mean precisely as much as we allow them to"

1. They have the power to fine by an unlimited amount, and the power to increase the original fine over time if the company in question does not become compliant. No corporation has carried out your proposed strategy of just paying the fines - even Microsoft - because it would be stupid.

2. Facebook International is based in Dublin, Ireland, which is part of the E.U..

Re:What power have laws, in this digital age? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925905)

Hey Zuckerberg, you sure talk a good fight.

-1 Flamebait (5, Interesting)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925133)

"U.S. concepts of free expression and commerce will battle European support for privacy and state legislation."? Really?

Was this summary explicitly written in trollspeak to ignite yet another US vs Europe flamewar on /. ?

Re:-1 Flamebait (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925225)

Funny, I thought the free market economy was a Minoan concept...

Targeted advertising. (4, Interesting)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925215)

I never understood the objection to targeted advertising. I don't particularly enjoy sitting through adds for tampons, dating services, or political candidates. But I quite like ads for electronics, camping gear, movies, cars and things like that. So why wouldn't I want a website to know what kinds of ads interest me? Targeted ads are greatly preferable to general ads.

I'll be in favor of a "right to be forgotten" if it applies to the government and banks. Otherwise, it's not really worth it.

Re:Targeted advertising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925283)

That's the point of OPT-IN. I block all ads anyway (or try to, by pattern matching) so I don't really care if I get targeted.

Re:Targeted advertising. (5, Insightful)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925355)

Is it OK to you for any entity (government, facebook, google) to have a file about you containing:
- your name
- your phone number, and the names and phone numbers of all your contacts
- your web history
- your web search history
- your past and current email
- your gps position, its history, and the places you "starred"
- the pictures you take with your phone
- your wifi passwords
- the music you bought online
- the books you read online
- your investments portfolio
- the office documents you're working on
- everything you "liked" on the web, be it apps, music, cuisine or politics
under just the promise that they'll never be doing anything bad with that data, except "targeted advertising"?

Even their ability to sell some of that data, purged of personal identifications, is "bad" enough for me. If advertisers get to know where you work and what you like, that's enough to understand who you are in many cases.

Re:Targeted advertising. (3, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925381)

If advertisers get to know where you work and what you like, that's enough to understand who you are in many cases.

Which is bad because then they'd be able to try to sell you stuff you might actually want, rather than a bunch of stupid crap you don't care about? I just don't see it.

As far as your list goes, I have no illusions that government legislation can protect any information I would voluntarily choose to share. Best case scenario: corporations store and trade the information secretly. So, if you have something and you want to keep it private, the only way to do that is to keep it to yourself. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something.

Re:Targeted advertising. (2)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925481)

Which is bad because then they'd be able to try to sell you stuff you might actually want, rather than a bunch of stupid crap you don't care about?

No, it's bad because an "advertiser" can be just anyone, including somebody who is interested in obtaining my personal information instead of selling me stuff, or some company who won't protect at all my personal data against misuse, for example by one of their own employees who has something against me.

So, if you have something and you want to keep it private, the only way to do that is to keep it to yourself.

Fine, but then I need to be aware of all the data a company is collecting about me, so that I can then make an informed decision about keeping that data for myself. To make just one example, I for one was not aware that, when doing a Google search in a browser tab after I had logged into GMail in another tab, all my searches would be stored into Google's servers forever. Ditto for the YouTube view history. And the page to access and delete that information is very hard to find.

Enabling people to know exactly what data about them the corporations are storing, is what the EU laws are all about.

Re:Targeted advertising. (2)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925515)

If someone has a personal vendetta against you, and they use information to blackmail you or whatever, there are already laws in place you can use to sue them. Pushing for regulations to prevent private corporations from having personal infomation is misguided, as the principle collectors of this kind of information (governments and banks) will be largely immune from it and are still employing thousands of regular people. If your regulations are missing most of the potential offenders, all they really do is give people a false sense of security.

As for letting people know what kind of information may be gathered: full disclosure is always a good thing. Again any regulations are going to miss the people you should really be worried about.

Re:Targeted advertising. (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925737)

If someone has a personal vendetta against you, and they use information to blackmail you or whatever, there are already laws in place you can use to sue them

But suing them after they've ruined my reputation / job / family / whatever can be a meager consolation. I'd rather not enable them to get that information too easily, or at least not without me knowing.

principle collectors of this kind of information (governments and banks) will be largely immune from it

Are they immune? I often need to fill privacy consent forms when I request services from banks or public offices. Granted, most people will just fill them without even reading them, or might not have the choice not to sign them at all.

Re:Targeted advertising. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925931)

It's true that you can only sue after your reputation's been destroyed. But these proposed regulations wouldn't change that.

Are they immune?

Not only are they immune, they are required to hold the information for a period of time.

Re:Targeted advertising. (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925489)

No. Which is bad because (as courts have found already), it allows others to infer (a) who your mistress might be, (b) your political affiliations, (c) your use (or not) of illegal but morally justifiable controlled substances, (d) when you are away from home (oooh... look! an unoccupied house just waiting to be burglarized)... and many more things. It has been CLEARLY shown, beyond reasonable doubt, that even "de-personalized" data can give people personalized information.
Also, your version of "best case scenario" is pretty bizarre! Corporations trade your "personal" information among themselves secretly??? How, in the name of Grid, could that be considered "best case scenario"? Somehow, I don't think you are on the same channel as everybody else here.

Re:Targeted advertising. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925525)

How, in the name of Grid, could that be considered "best case scenario"?

That's be best result your silly regulations will be able to achieve. In reality, they won't achieve even that because they will include loopholes and exemptions.

Re:Targeted advertising. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925741)

They aren't MY regulations. They are regulations from government that has lost touch with those whom they presume to govern.

But aside from that, your statements have become increasingly close to incoherent. Try again when you sober up.

Re:Targeted advertising. (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925689)

I think it comes down to if people are old (and educated?) enough to remember Stasi.

I grew up in the 80s with East/West Germany next door and history lessons teaching us horrible things about what government can do with too much information.

Re:Targeted advertising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925889)

If you deliberately tell that entity all those things, then yes, it is perfectly okay.

It boggles my mind that people have no problem giving away any and all information about themselves, but then flip out and pressure the government to control what happens to it afterwards.

IF YOU DON'T WANT YOUR INFORMATION USED, DON'T GIVE IT AWAY IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Re:Targeted advertising. (1)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 2 years ago | (#38926059)

(allcaps)

But SOMEONE ELSE can give it away in your place!

Glad I got that of my chest, hehe.

Re:Targeted advertising. (2)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925379)

I never understood the objection to targeted advertising.

There isn't any. No one is complaining about google ads in gmail. Hulu has "ad tailor" that asks you about ad relevance. Absolutely no outrage about that (even nice to have sometimes)
I think the problem comes when my information is handed out to someone else. Beacon program posted blockbuster rental information on users accounts for others to see. And I guess the information is being made available without users consent?

Re:Targeted advertising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925665)

I prefer those tampons ads EXACTLY BECAUSE THERE'S NO CHANCE THESE ADS WILL MAKE ME BUY ONE.
If these ads were about things I might buy, then there is a chance that my decisions are conditioned by advertising.

Google got it sorted out (2, Insightful)

pacc (163090) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925231)

"It's your data" so if you want us to delete your GPS locations
crossreferenced with your search habits you will have to give
up your gmail.

All in the new simplified agreement that covers everything.

Re:Google got it sorted out (3, Insightful)

cardpuncher (713057) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925487)

In the old world of business, the service provider received something of direct value in exchange for the service and the customer could reasonably expect to end the contract and stop paying. In the new model, the customer has something of indirect value irreversibly taken away (privacy) there's no reasonable prospect of getting it back even if they do agree to give up the service at a later date. Privacy is like virginity - when it's gone, it's gone.

Re:Google got it sorted out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925965)

And that's what a lot of people are doing right now, after the privacy policy fiasco. Make sure you tell the David Drummond asshole why you chose not to continue using GMail.

--
Jordynb

And then the 15 year old grows up.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925295)

This law is to protect the vulnerable. Why have laws against child porn its free speech..

When the person who's whole life is on facebook grows up they will probably regret it yet by then its too late.
At least having decent privacy laws and data protection will means that its just a service they used then moved on.

And who knows what companies like google and facebook will do when good times turn to bad.
(We are a failing company but we have heaps of data - lets just sell it to a company that sells drugs or does door to door visits - who knows)

The site belongs to facebook. (-1)

Ragingguppy (464321) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925395)

The site belongs to facebook. It is hosted in the US. That data is sitting on their computers. Who are these law makers that tell facebook what to do with the data that is sitting on facebooks own computers. This idea of trying to regulate what people do with the devices they own is simply laughable. I have a solution. If you don't want facebook to have your personal stuff then don't put your personal stuff on facebook.

In my view I see facebook far more responsible with peoples data then the very politicians trying to police them. I guess the EU politicians are not done messing up their own country they have to go mess up other peoples businesses as well? good grief.

Re:The site belongs to facebook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925537)

We are not American you have no Constitutional right to be able to make money off us, In our house if you play by our rules then you can make money. Otherwise feel free to fuck right off.

Arrogant Americans thinking their way is the only way.

Re:The site belongs to facebook. (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925661)

I don't CARE where a site is hosted. The only thing that affects is the process for issuing a copyright takedown order or legal action.

EVERY INTERNET COMPANY IS REQUIRED TO ABIDE BY THE LAWS OF IT'S CUSTOMER NATIONS.

Your option is to abide by the laws and regulations of the nations where your customers and users are, or to be blocked from those markets for non-compliance.

That applies to EVERYONE in the world, not just US companies.

Re:The site belongs to facebook. (2)

aix tom (902140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925885)

Perfectly OK then, since Facebooks customers are the Advertisers.

Since no European advertiser would be willing to be Facebooks customer, since it would be illegal for him to use the private data Facebook stores about their European products, Facebook would pretty much no longer be interested in acquiring and keeping new European products. Problem solved.

Facebook could either decide to keep buying infrastructure to keep their European products in storage with no chance of ever selling it, or to stop investing in European merchandise.

Re:The site belongs to facebook. (4, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925769)

The site belongs to facebook. It is hosted in the US.

Facebook International HQ is in Dublin, Ireland - which is part of the E.U. They are also currently building a massive data center in Sweden [guardian.co.uk] which will handle all traffic from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

This idea of trying to regulate what people do with the devices they own is simply laughable.

Welcome to the real world, where there are regulations governing businesses, and regulations that cover many of the devices that businesses use. You may also want to educate yourself regarding some of the reasons that Europeans generally support pro-privacy and anti-data-collection laws. [wikipedia.org] You may be surprised to learn that it was a trade union [wikipedia.org] that rose up against the communists and fought for the first free democratic elections in eastern Europe.

This applies to the arrogant Google guys as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925459)

Are you listening, David Drummond, you fucking asshole?

--
Tired of the Google assholes? Swtich to DuckDuckGo [duckduckgo.com] today!

Directive in conflict with Patriot Act? (5, Interesting)

Frans Faase (648933) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925517)

I think a bigger problem is that this new privacy directed is also in conflict with the Patriot Act. If I understand it correctly, the Patriot Act allows the USA government to seize any data (no matter where it is being hosted in the world) from any company that has a legal entity in the USA. The new privacy directive does not allow any government to size this data. To me it seems that any company that has a legal entity in the USA can no longer store any private (customer) data of people falling under the laws of to the EU.

The EU Justice Commissioner must understand... (-1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925539)

... that the fact that a specific website is accessible from country XYZ, does NOT mean this website must comply with the local laws of country XYZ.

Re:The EU Justice Commissioner must understand... (2)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925603)

the fact that a specific website is accessible from country XYZ, does NOT mean this website must comply with the local laws of country XYZ.

This certainly is not a new discussion — there's plenty written and opined about the applicability of one country's laws (and the jurisdiction of courts) to services made available from other countries, generally under the title of "private international law" or "conflict of laws."

In terms of the law in the EU, at least as between Member States, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled on the issue, with regard to websites operated from one country and available in another — whether, for the purposes of EU law on applicable jurisdiction (i.e. which Member State's courts should hear the case*), a hotel's website amounted to an activity "directed" to other Member States (if you are interested in the law, it's Article 15(1)(c) of Regulation 44/2001 [europa.eu] ). The case is Hotel Alpenhof [europa.eu] , and the court held that:

The classic forms of advertising expressly referred to in the previous paragraph involve the outlay of, sometimes significant, expenditure by the trader in order to make itself known in other Member States and they demonstrate, on that very basis, an intention of the trader to direct its activity towards those States.

That intention is not, on the other hand, always present in the case of advertising by means of the internet. Since this method of communication inherently has a worldwide reach, advertising on a website by a trader is in principle accessible in all States, and, therefore, throughout the European Union, without any need to incur additional expenditure and irrespective of the intention or otherwise of the trader to target consumers outside the territory of the State in which it is established.

It does not follow, however, that the words ‘directs such activities to’ must be interpreted as relating to a website’s merely being accessible in Member States other than that in which the trader concerned is established.

...

It must therefore be determined, in the case of a contract between a trader and a given consumer, whether, before any contract with that consumer was concluded, there was evidence demonstrating that the trader was envisaging doing business with consumers domiciled in other Member States, including the Member State of that consumer’s domicile, in the sense that it was minded to conclude a contract with those consumers.

Such evidence does not include mention on a website of the trader’s email address or geographical address, or of its telephone number without an international code. Mention of such information does not indicate that the trader is directing its activity to one or more other Member States, since that type of information is, in any event, necessary to enable a consumer domiciled in the Member State in which the trader is established to make contact with it.

So, no, mere accessibility of a website is not enough for an EU member state to be able to seize jurisdiction — are Facebook and Google and other sites with a main entity located in another country doing more than making their sites merely accessible?

* whilst the courts of Member State A might have the power to hear the case, this is different to saying that they must apply the law of Member State A. Depending on the arguments as to applicable law, a court in one Member State may have to interpret the contract in accordance with the laws of Member State B.

Re:The EU Justice Commissioner must understand... (1)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925619)

Just to confirm — the case is on applicable jurisdiction, not applicable law.

Re:The EU Justice Commissioner must understand... (4, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925781)

Yes, but Facebook is a European company, and it does business in Europe. Either one of those would make it liable to E.U. jurisdiction.

Corrected that for you (4, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925631)

U.S. concepts of free expression and commerce...

Should read

U.S. concepts of freedom to be monitored, tracked, analyzed, and advertised to...

The EU legislation has NOTHING to do with freedom of speech. The summary is busy trying to paint a red herring argument where there is none, just to stir up good old "Proud American" sentiment.

Facebook Is (1)

virb67 (1771270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925675)

Facebook is the largest and most sophisticated data mining operation that has ever existed on Earth. It's very simple actually. If you want to keep any semblance of privacy, don't surrender your personal data to them. PERIOD. You don't need Facebook. It solves no problem. It creates a lot of them, though.

Re:Facebook Is (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38926109)

Personal responsibility. Corporate responsibility. It takes a lack of both for privacy to be violated. And it sure seems that between Facebook users and Facebook, there is a lack of both. But either users or the company can fix it. That's why you don't see me on Facebook (well, at least not under my own name).

News at 11 (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925829)

Facebook is on collision course with any privacy laws.

Time to invade Europe (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38926045)

This evil anti American regime must be stopped at all cost!

Re:Time to invade Europe (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38926131)

Easier to just break away from Europe.

Re:Time to invade Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38926203)

In due time. Please start with those countries that ask American companies to censor the posts and the search of their citizens.

Btw, I heard that those companies usually comply to those requests. FB will comply with the EU legislation or leave the field to some competitor. I guess they'll do their best to change the law but if they fail they'll comply.

Interesting POV (4, Interesting)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38926311)

'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."

The EU is essentially claiming that accessibility of a site to EU users subjects the site to EU laws. That's the same argument that the US uses to go after overseas sites that violate US law. While privacy is certainly a valid concern, the overall concept is a dangerous one. If a company doesn't have a physical prince in a location should it be subject to local laws? Should the government where it is located enforce foreign judgements?

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