EVF Lodges Complaints Against Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo

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EVF stands for Europe V. Facebook, an Austrian Student group. The founder of the group, Max Schrems, is a meticulous document requester and researcher. EVF has filed 22 complaints against Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s European subsidiary in Ireland with the Irish Data Protection Authority.   EVF members have lodged complaints under EU data protection law against Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Skype and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) as these sites have been accused of being involved in the National Security Agency’s PRISM program.



The complaints were filed in Ireland (against Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple), Luxembourg (against Skype and Microsoft) and Germany (against Yahoo) and were also sent to the European subsidiaries of these U.S. based social networking sites.

EVF Founder’s Views

The United States is handling the PRISM scandal, but some of the named companies are also operating their businesses through subsidiaries in the Europe in order to avoid taxes. Companies operating in Europe are bound by European Privacy laws even though the U.S. parent company processes the user’s data.

EVF Founder Max Schrems, when replying to questions asked by journalists about whether Prism is legal under the European perspective, said that they took a close look at the matter and consulted legal experts, after which they came to the conclusion that it is not legal from a European perspective due to the corporate structure of the company.

Schrems said that the transfer of data to the United States will be considered illegal if the companies involved cannot deny requests from PRISM. He said that one of the vital questions on the table is whether European subsidiary can transfer data to a foreign agency.

Schrems said that the European authorities should address whether NSA or PRISM can take user data from Europe without any restrictions.

The American “gag order” will not be applicable for the European subsidiaries and the companies will have to tell the truth under the European proceedings.

Google and YouTube Not Named in Complaint

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and YouTube were not included in the complaint due to their different company structures. Schrems said that Google and YouTube do not use European subsidiaries. However, he said that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has data centers in Ireland, Belgium and Finland so complaints against those companies may be handled differently.

Recent Complaints Against Facebook

Recently the group filed a complaint against Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) for its March 13 redesign of Timeline.  EVF found “friends of friends” could have all information and events “attended” by unconnected users. The security here would be helpless even if it is set as the information should not be made public.

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