Internet Companies take on French Authorities Over Data Policy

One of the major concerns about the Internet is privacy issues and once again the subject of privacy has reared its head. Today we have heard that major Internet companies are about to take on the French authorities in a case about a personal data policy.

Representing these companies, which include titans of the Internet, such as Google, social networking site Facebook, and eBay, is the French Association of Internet Community Services (ASIC). The complaint will be filed against a decree from France’s State Council that says Internet companies must keep customers’ private data for a year. That includes information such as names, addresses, passwords and phone numbers.

Stan Schroeder over on Mashable, sourced from AFP, points out that France has previously had somewhat mixed reactions to privacy and was quick to fine Google after the news came to light that Google had collected personal data from WiFi networks. However the decree stating that customer information must be kept for a year was issued in March and means that any of this information can be demanded by French authorities such as the police, tax, social security, customs and fraud.

Benoit Tabaka, ASIC head, stated about the decree, “This is a shocking measure, this obligation to keep passwords and hand them over to police service.” Also Tabaka pointed out that the European Commission was not consulted about the decree before it was issued.

It’s certainly an interesting case and one that many people will be following closely. After all if people have concerns about large organizations keeping personal data shouldn’t the same be said about governments? Let us know how you feel by sending your comments.

  • james

    Fair play to these companies for standing up for our rights. It gives people faith and strength to stand up to draconian measures forced on us by our governments.