U.S. social networks are once again under fire, this time from French consumer rights group UFC-Que Choisir. The group has filed a lawsuit in the Paris high court because it views some of the business
practices used by Twitter, Facebook, and Google as “abusive” and “illegal.”
The inability of consumers to truly have control of their data once it is placed in the hands of social networks concerns UFC-Que Choisir, which cited a recent survey indicating the difficulty people have managing their information. According to that survey, protection of personal data is a major concern for 85 percent of French citizens, yet only 24 percent of those surveyed were able to completely erase their online personal data.
Not only are people unable to tell what they are agreeing when they create accounts on the social networks, but their data is also exploited, according to UFC-Que Choisir. “Worse, the networks persist in [authorizing] the widespread collection, modification, preservation and use of the data of users and even of those around them," the organization said.
By bringing these complaints to the French judicial system, the group hopes that the judges will “order the suppression or modification of the myriad of contentious clauses imposed by these companies." This would mean that Facebook, Twitter, and Google would have change their policies and be more upfront with users.
“Under E.U. law, personal data can only be gathered legally under strict conditions, for a legitimate purpose,” according to the European Union. “ Furthermore, persons or [organizations] which collect and manage your personal information must protect it from misuse and must respect certain rights of the data owners which are guaranteed by E.U. law.”