Irish watchdog to decide if Facebook to face legal action

Tue, Jul 31, 2012, 01:00

An Irish watchdog says it will determine by early October whether Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, will face legal action under European privacy laws.

Ireland is the headquarters of Facebook’s non-US business, and the data regulator is responsible for ensuring the company complies with European and Irish data protection law. The Data Protection Commissioner denied yesterday it had frozen out an Austrian-based group of student activists, europe-v-facebook, which has succeeded in extracting some concessions on privacy from Facebook and had been working with the watchdog.

The pressure group’s founder said he feared the watchdog was favouring Facebook, partly because Ireland prizes the fact that large US IT firms such as Facebook and Microsoft have made the country their international base. “Our main concerns are about transparency and control,” said Max Schrems.

The Irish watchdog has carried out a privacy audit and made recommendations including about Facebook’s policies on tagging photos and retaining data. – (Reuters)