back to article Irony isn't dead... Facebook sues EU on data privacy grounds for requesting too much personal data

American tech giants have enjoyed a reversal of their EU legal fortunes over the past fortnight as Euro nation courts issued rulings in their favor – and now Facebook has even sued the European Union itself, alleging the political bloc’s agencies broke their own data protection rules. Facebook filed a lawsuit against EU …

  1. BrownishMonstr Bronze badge

    I think if I was to start a company the documents would contain made up synonyms for the the big, bad words.

  2. Tom Chiverton 1

    Right out of the big ad tech playbook. File counter suit, drag out the case at some tiny cost to yourself (as % of profit) in order to both delay any final judgement and increase the chance of a negotiated solution favourable to you, because the other side will run out of money or patience first.

    SOP

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Probably Facebook will discover that legal investigations are exempt from a lot of GDPR rules.

  3. Teiwaz Silver badge

    'Ow much?

    "including highly sensitive personal information such as employees’ medical information, personal financial documents, and private information about family members of employees.”

    You can't harvest more than was sown. Surely in requesting, they can only get as much information as Facebook is hold on their employees.

    Just how much information is Facebook keeping on it's employees?

    Too much that they feel revealing how much would damage the companies reputation (further)?

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: 'Ow much?

      "Just how much information is Facebook keeping on it's employees?"

      Eh, no more than they have on us private citizens/lab rats.

  4. jelabarre59 Silver badge
    FAIL

    maybe the point

    One could think maybe the EU were trying to make a point about excessive data collection? Although I expect as far as Failbook and their ilk are concerned, they'll completely fail to get the point being made, or they will and just won't care.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: maybe the point

      Facebook's relationship with the EU.... It's complicated.

  5. Eguro

    I'm not American, so it might simply be differences between cultures, but why on Earth does the employer (Facebook) have information about employees including:

    "medical information, personal financial documents, and private information about family members of employees."

    None of that seems like it would be particularly relevant (or even legal?) for an employer to possess?

    1. secondtimeuser

      There's some fairly believable options for those;

      Medical information: they had a sick day, on return to work they needed to give a brief reason for needing time off.

      Personal financial documents: payslips

      Information about family members: next of kin details for in the event of an emergency at work.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Here employers are not allowed to know why a doctor gave employees time off. The company is only informed by the doctor how many days off one is given.

        1. phogan

          They can't disclose what you were treated for in such notes in the U.S either without the patients approval. Every doctor I've gotten one from had pre-made letters that just said when they saw me and their signature.

    2. eldakka Silver badge

      Due to the commercialization of US healthcare, the only way to realistically afford said healthcare is if one is either stonking rich or has insurance. Therefore many companies offer health insurance packages as part of employment which, amongst other things, is extra control an employer has over an employee, as it ads a level of fear in employees of losing their access to health, therefore providing incentive to employees to toe the company line or else get fired and lose access to healthcare. This also has the additoinal benefit (for the employer) of giving them a reason to obtain personal data from the employees under the guise of providing the health insurance. Therefore in the US a company may have obtained massive amounts of personal data in the guise of providing such services.

      I'm assuming that this healthcare information is in part at least what they are referring to could be subject to thus data request.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Okay, that is a good explanation.

        But why the hell does the EU need to investigate that ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Likely they don't and weren't asking to. This is probably an excuse by Facebook to get immunity to current and future requests that are actually legitimate.

          "[The suit] includes demands for the court to halt further EU regulatory data demands against Facebook until further notice."

  6. Glen 1 Silver badge

    "continues to pursue his case through the English Court of Appeal "

    How long after 1/1/21 do you think English law will "diverge"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's called legal tourism. The UK courts will happily arbitrate on your dispute, for big fat fees obviously, even if it has little relevance to anyone in the UK. You may be a dodgy Russian oligarch squabbling with another dodgy Russian oligarch but British lawyers will happily represent both sides (Private Eye, ad nauseum)

  7. jake Silver badge

    That's not irony.

    That's balls. Gigantic, brass, shiny ones. Swinging in the breeze for all to see.

    A rather tempting target, to say the least.

    Hopefully they'll get emasculated forthwith.

  8. ratfox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    I'm sure Google isn't hurting much about the €600k fine, but... How does that work? The ECJ ordered Google to examine requests for delisting, and now Google gets fined every time the regulators thinks it didn't take the right decision?

    I thought the regulators had outsourced their job of handling privacy requests to Google, but I hadn't realized they would also make Google pay for the privilege...

  9. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
    Pirate

    Should have restricted requests...

    To employees' personal information, and the personal information of everyone they know.

    And then flog the whole database of slurped info to anyone who'll pay for it.

  10. codejunky Silver badge

    Interesting

    So its ok for the EU to go after Facebook, but bad that the EU lost and may have broken its own rules while doing so?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting

      The EU lost? Not sure where you got that idea.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Interesting

        "American tech giants have enjoyed a reversal of their EU legal fortunes over the past fortnight as Euro nation courts issued rulings in their favor – and now Facebook has even sued the European Union itself, alleging the political bloc’s agencies broke their own data protection rules."

        The first paragraph on the article. The EU went after facebook and the court ruled in favour of facebook.

        1. X5-332960073452
          Stop

          Re: Interesting

          No ruling yet, so no win.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Interesting

            @X5-332960073452

            Yet again I am litterally quoting from the first friggin paragraph of this very friggin article-

            "Euro nation courts issued rulings in their favor"

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Interesting

              Re-read your quote. It quite clearly says "nation courts", meaning the courts of individual nations, not the EU as a whole.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Interesting

                @jake

                "Re-read your quote. It quite clearly says "nation courts", meaning the courts of individual nations, not the EU as a whole."

                I have reread it. Its even in the short bit at the top of the comments section-

                "American tech giants have enjoyed a reversal of their EU legal fortunes over the past fortnight as Euro nation courts issued rulings in their favor"

                So there are rulings in Facebooks favour, against who? Reading into the articles next paragraph- "Facebook filed a lawsuit against EU competition regulators on Monday alleging that enforcers were improperly seeking access to sensitive employee personal data."

                But who's enforcers? Third paragraph- "EU regulators had made “exceptionally broad” demands"

                Maybe this article isnt making it very clear or has it wrong but so far its looking like the EU is in the cross-hairs under EU law.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

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