Google and Facebook challenge French government on personal data law

News by Dan Raywood

A French government law that requires web users' personal data to be kept for a year is being challenged.

A French government law that requires web users' personal data to be kept for a year is being challenged.

According to a BBC report, companies including Google, Facebook and eBay are taking the French government to court over the law that obliges e-commerce sites, video and music services and webmail providers to keep a host of data on customers.

The data includes users' full names, postal addresses, telephone numbers and passwords and if demanded, the data must be handed over to the authorities.

Benoit Tabaka, head of the French Association of Internet Community Services (ASIC), who brought the legal challenge to the law, said that it believes the law to be ‘unnecessarily draconian'.

He said: “Several elements are problematic. For instance, there was no consultation with the European Commission. Our companies are based in several European countries. Our activities target many national markets, so it is clear that we need a common approach.”

Edy Almer, VP of product management at Safend, said: “The planned decree proposed by ASIC and [French] government plans to keep web users' personal data for a year, presents further opportunity for a data breach to occur. Implementing new laws that enable law enforcement authorities to access personal data stored by internet companies will create further issues surrounding the storage, access and movement of data.”

Last month plans were announced to change the policy on cookies and from the end of May, websites will have to gain ‘explicit consent' from visitors to store or access information on their computers.

Frank Coggrave, general manager EMEA at Guidance Software, said: “There is a demand from government to know about what is happening in the cyber environment. There is a need to put this in place and but there has got to be some balances, but it is not the good guys that you need to worry about.”

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