The Guarding writes today one of my kind of stories: a little guy taking things in his own hands and fighting back against giants. And this happens in the data protection universe 😉
Max Schrems, 24, decided to ask Facebook for a copy of his data in June after attending a lecture by a Facebook executive while on an exchange programme at Santa Clara University in California.
Schrems was shocked when he eventually received a CD from California containing messages and information he says he had deleted from his profile in the three years since he joined the site.
After receiving the data, Schrems decided to log a list of 22 separate complaints with the Irish data protection commissioner, which next week is to carry out its first audit of Facebook. He wrote to Ireland after discovering that European users are administered by the Irish Facebook subsidiary. A spokeswoman for the commissioner confirmed its officers would be investigating alleged breaches raised by Schrems as part of the audit. If the commissioner decides to prosecute and Facebook or any employees are found guilty of data protection breaches, the maximum penalty is a fine of €100,000.
What bedazzles me is the kind of data Facebook stores about its users!
Among the 1,200 pages of data Schrems was sent were rejected friend requests, incidences where he “defriended” someone, as well as a log of all Facebook chats he had ever had. There was also a list of photos he had detagged of himself, the names of everyone he had ever “poked”, which events he had attended, which he hadn’t replied to, and much more besides.
This story sounds like the beginning of some severe legislation on the right to be forgotten, at least in the European Union.
More about the war Schrems creates, on Europe v. Facebook webpage.