EU Warns: Leave Facebook If You Value Your Privacy

A stark warning has been issued by the European Union: delete your Facebook profile if you don’t want your privacy to be compromised. A report from Naked Security says that the EU is recommending people who don’t wish to have their personal details spied on by US agencies should leave Facebook for good.

The statement was made by European Commission attorney Bernhard Schima in a recent case that looks at whether the data of EU citizens is safe if sent to the United States, according to The Guardian. At the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, Schima warned that users may, “consider closing your Facebook account.”

The case was brought about by Austrian law student Max Schrems who filed a major complaint against the social media giants, as well as four other companies: Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Skype (which is owned by Microsoft). Reports say Schrems had privacy concerns about the transfer of Facebook information to the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US, citing Safe Harbor rules.

Safe Harbor ruling states that, “US data protection rules are adequate if information is passed by companies on a “self-certify” basis.’ The argument claims that the recent data collection scheme – which was revealed by ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden – violates the EU’s Data Protection Directive which protects privacy, rendering Safe Harbor unnecessary.

Schrems was backed by advocacy group Digital Rights Ireland as well as representatives from countries such as Poland Austria.

However, the court argues that Safe Harbor is a necessary program both economically and politically, and that it is still a, ‘work in process.’

“There have been a spate of cases from the ECJ and other courts on data privacy and retention showing the judiciary as being more than willing to be a disrupting influence…Bringing down the Safe Harbor mechanism might seem politically and economically ill-conceived, but as the decision of the ECJ in the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ case seems to reinforce that isn’t a fetter which the ECJ is restrained by.”

Facebook – who recently made headlines after successful tests of new laser drones over the UK – is the world’s most popular social networking site with around 1.4 billion users. The site was started by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 and is currently listed at the number two spot on the Alexa traffic rank (Google being number one).

Facebook have yet to comment on the issue of privacy for their EU users, but the Advocate General of the ECJ will give an opinion on the case and Safe Habor ruling on June 24, 2015.

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