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Irish law for Norwegian Facebook users

18. august, 2011

The privacy of Norwegian Facebook users is regulated by Irish law. That’s the conclusion from the Data Inspectorate of Norway following the Consumer Council’s complaint of last year.

Last year, the Norwegian Consumer Council filed a complaint to the Data Inspectorate on Facebook and application provider Zynga’s breaches to the data protection act.

Whilst working on the complaint, the Data Inspectorate concluded that Facebook is not under Norwegian jurisdiction, as long as the company is established in Ireland, and not in Norway

– This is a somewhat absurd situation where we have to contact the Irish Data Protection Commissioner for a clarification as to what Facebook can and cannot do in Norway, says Thomas Nortvedt Head of Section Digital Services at the Consumer Council.

The Consumer Council is under the impression that the basis for this gathering and the subsequent use of private date is in clear violation of the Norwegian privacy legislation.

The complaint has now been forwarded to the Irish commissioner.

Facebook in Norwegian

– Facebook is presented in Norwegian, and its undoubtedly marketed towards Norwegian consumers. Facebook has a obvious connection to Norway, through their use of private data to present advertisements aimed at Norwegian users, says Thomas Nortvedt.

Facebook and other social media providers should not be allowed to invalidate legislation or basic rights through their terms of service nor claim another country’s jurisdiction.

– Companies providing worldwide services should adhere to the legislation in the countries where they operate. We are experiencing a parallell contractual universe online, where elementary principles are circumvented, overruled or corrupted. Privacy should be respected – online as well, says Thomas Nortvedt.

Submitted to the Irish data protection commissioner

The EU is currently revising the Data Protection Directive, for which the Consumer Council in cooperation with the European consumer organisation BEUC is demanding that Facebook and other online companies should respect national legislation.

– Its important work. It is an important principle that Norwegian citizens can make their claims according to national legislation – in their own country – even though EU legislation is harmonised, concludes Thomas Nortvedt.

The Consumer Council’s demands

  • You own your own content and private date. Companies should disclose details about what information is stored about you and how this data is being used.
  • Standard settings should limit who can see and use your private data.
  •  Third party applications, such as games, shall only have access to the information strictly necessary to provide a functioning service. Facebook should not be allowed to waive liability for third-parties collecting, storing or using personal data based on their service.
Bilde av ansatt: Øyvind Herseth Kaldestad.Foto

Øyvind H. Kaldestad

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