Facebook rejects report it breaches EU privacy laws

Facebook has rejected a report from the Centre of Interdisciplinary Law and ICT at the University of Leuven in Belgium, claiming the social network’s privacy policy violates European Union laws.

In a statement made to the BBC, Facebook stated “The authors have never contacted us, nor sought to clarify any assumptions upon which their report is based,” it said. “Neither did they invite our comment on the report before making it public...However, we remain willing to engage with them and hope they will be prepared to update their work in due course.”

The report claimed that Facebook had expanded upon its practices of gaining information and using it for commercial gain. It claims the social network routinely tracks the user on a smartphone, tracking what apps were opened on a smartphone.

Facebook also allegedly uses personal photos for commercial gain and utilises plug-ins to get around users that do not have active accounts.

The allegations come a few months after Facebook updated its privacy policy, following several orders from EU courts to change the policy for Europeans. It follows several court cases with US internet companies over the way they handle European user data.

Facebook remains grounded, claiming it has done nothing wrong and the allegations are false. The social network also added it had been audited by the Irish Data Commission, who were satisfied with Facebook’s data collection and commercialisation methods.

This is just one of the EU battles Facebook is facing, the other one involves the social network collecting personal information on Europeans and shipping it back to the US for the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance network.

Facebook denies working with the NSA on any surveillance programme, but the Edward Snowden documents on PRISM clearly state the social network, alongside Google, Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter were all a part of PRISM.

The case was brought to the European Court of Justice by activist Max Schrems, claiming the US-EU safe harbour agreement has been violated. If this case goes in Schrems favour, it could bring complete reform on the way US corporations collect and store European user data.