Google, eBay, and Facebook Take on France Over User Privacy

It’s not every day that Web giants like Google and Facebook take on governments to protect their users’ privacy. Typically, it’s the other way around, with tech companies in fisticuffs with administration officials over their collection of personal data. (See our handy Google Map of all Google’s international privacy investigations.)

But today, those roles have been reversed. Google, Facebook, eBay have joined more than 20 leading Internet firms in France to file a complaint against a requirement for them to store users’ personal data.

Represented by the French Association of Internet Community Services (ASIC), the Web companies are taking issue with a French decree that forces them to store users’ data for a year, AFP reports, so it can be used by authorities as part of an investigation. The decree requires e-commerce, video, music, and email sites to store not only emails and passwords, but mailing addresses, password hints, pseudonyms, and telephone numbers.

“This is a shocking measure, this obligation to keep passwords and hand them over to police services,” said ASIC chief Benoit Tabaka.

The firms will formally file their complaint tomorrow morning, and hope to bring their case before the State Council.

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