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Every time we enter our Facebook profile or visit the wall of one of our contacts, we generate data that the social network classifies. What does Facebook do with that information, and how does it obtain it? Does Facebook respect the European regulations on data Protection?
By accepting the privacy conditions of this social network, we are giving permission to, among other things, monitor our activity on the network through the cookies that are installed on our devices. These cookies monitor the links that we visit both inside and outside the social network.
That way they can know from where, when and how long you stay on a certain page. That way Facebook knows what we like, what our political ideology or our sexual orientation is, data that it uses mainly to create ads related to our tastes. But perhaps one of the most worrying facts, related to the right to be forgotten on the Internet, is that when we leave the social network, our information remains there.
The use of all that information and the way in which Facebook obtains it, is generating more than one legal problem. The first of them, obviously, has to do with the protection of the right to privacy.
Many think not. That is why a few months ago, the University of Louvain, in Belgium, denounced the social network and accused it of violating European Data Protection laws.
This university, which incidentally has its own profile on Facebook, published a report claiming that Facebook violates European data regulations in various aspects, there are irregularities regarding the use of the information it possesses of its users, forcing them to accept somewhat complicated clauses to protect their privacy. This also involves deriving a lot of responsibility from users. Specifically, the University of Leuven understands that with the use of some cookies by Facebook, it would be incurring a violation of European regulations.
Directive 2002/58 of the European Parliament and of the Council, on privacy and electronic communications, establishes, with respect to cookies, that when they have a legitimate purpose, such as facilitating the provision of information society services , its use must be authorized provided that users are provided with clear and precise information in this regard, in accordance with Directive 95/46 / EC, to ensure that users are aware of the information that is entered in the terminal equipment they are using.
Users must be able to prevent such cookies from being stored on their computer. That is, a free and informed consent of the user is required before he accepts the conditions that allow the storage or access to the information of the devices. But, Are we really free to accept these conditions, or are we conditioned by the massive use of this network? Not accepting them would be excluding us from an application in which practically everyone is.
Continuing with the legal problems of Facebook, the accusation of the Belgian university is just one more. Now this social network could face a class action lawsuit.
Headed Max schrems, an Austrian law degree, a class action lawsuit was filed in 2014 with the Vienna Provincial Court on behalf of 25,000 people from more than a hundred countries dissatisfied with the use that is given to their data.
The social network alleges that this court does not have jurisdiction over the case, and that a class action proceeding is only relevant in the State of California, where it is headquartered. The Austrian Supreme Court has referred this claim to the European Court of Justice. Now it will be this court who determines whether or not Max Schrems can file such a class action lawsuit.
Legislative problems for Facebook have increased in Europe, especially since the purchase of WhatsApp by Mark Zuckerberg and the transfer of information between both applications.
Actually The Spanish Agency for Data Protection is investigating the cross-information between WhatsApp and Facebook. The purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook means giving this social network a large amount of private information. In fact, many users have had to accept a change of conditions in the treatment of their information in order to continue using these applications. Faced with this situation, the Spanish agency has already received the first complaint from an individual for the use of sensitive information.
In short, we must not forget that ultimately it is we, the users, who have the ability to refuse to accept these conditions, although this would mean not using social networks. Are we ready for it?