Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) will face a legal battle in France against UFC-Que Choisir. The French consumer group alleged that the three technology companies are “using personal information without permission” and its user agreements contains “abusive and illicit” provisions and privacy issues.
Facebook, Google, Twitter vs. French consumer group
UFC-Que Choisir said it will file charges against the social network giant, the search engine giant, and the popular microblogging company in the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris and it will mobilize consumers to retain control over the personal data.
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The French consumer group decided to sue Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) after the companies kept the problematic clauses in its user agreements despite its demand for change during their several months of discussions.
Terms of Agreement remain inaccessible, filled with hyperlinks
In a statement, UFC-Que Choisir emphasized that terms of the user agreements of the companies remain “inaccessible, unreadable, filled with hyperlinks – between 40 and 100 hypertext links – sometimes referring to pages in English.”
The French Group added that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) continue to widely collect, modify, conserve, and exploit user data, and gave themselves unlimited rights to sell data to business partners.
“They continue to always grant without consent of the individual users, worldwide, unrestricted exploitation and communication of data to business partners license and unpaid,” according to UFC-Que Choisir [statement translated using Google Translate].
Long legal battle
In an interview with CNBC, Nicolas Godsroy, senior legal aide at UFC-Que Choisir said he wanted the tech companies to change the terms of their agreements in accordance with the law in France. He added that the French consumer group is preparing for a long legal battle against Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR). Godsroy said, “It’s a long-term undertaking.”
Alain Bensoussan, a lawyer in France specializing in digital rights agreed that the lawsuit could take years. He considers the French consumer group’s action “excellent.” According to him, “It’s the start of awareness. People don’t read terms and conditions, so security systems should be activated by default, with the option to deactivate them.”