In yet another case involving Facebook the social media giant is facing a number of legal cases being brought by regulators from across Europe. A number of co-ordinated cases spanning Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, and Spain have been filed against Facebook which concern a variety of issues. The Belgian case at present is the most advanced of all which if Facebook loses it will face fines of up to 250,000 EUR a day. This case was brought by the Belgian Privacy Commission who is arguing against Facebook's implementation of identity checks when logging on to the site in Belgium. Facebook argues that these measures have been adopted to prevent hacking. The Belgian Commission is accusing Facebook of spying on Belgium citizens and has labelled it a "new NSA" and has further challenged the use of the datr cookie in its jurisdiction. This particular type of cookie reports back to Facebook the user's browsing activity. Whilst Facebook argues this is part of its security policy, the regulator does not agree and does not see it necessary for security.
Looking at the German cases, over the summer the German regulator won its case against Facebook arguing that users should be able to use pseudonyms, Facebook however has appealed against the decision on the grounds that it is against their security policy. Many of the other claims filed similarly focus on Facebook's security policy and tools used by Facebook to prevent hacking.
Facebook initially pushed back on a number of these cases arguing that the regulators have no jurisdiction as its headquarters are based in Ireland and therein the Irish Regulator has exclusive jurisdiction, however this argument has failed as Facebook by its nature is a social media platform which operates in most countries in Europe and the world. It engages with European citizens in each country and has servers in these jurisdictions.
These cases all appear to have suddenly erupted, in the wake of Safe Harbour and serve to reinforce the tension between Europe and the USA. This is fast becoming a privacy war as Europe goes on the attack against a number of tech giants operating in its domain. Privacy advocates say the watchdogs are leading a long-overdue rebalancing of power between consumers and companies that reap growing profit from their personal information, but tech executives say a patchwork of litigation in multiple countries could restrict their ability to do business in Europe.