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Students plan to press Irish data commissioner on Facebook

Europe v. Facebook said its Monday meeting with Facebook was positive but more work remains to be done

A group of students concerned over Facebook's privacy practices plans to continue to press the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) for action following a meeting on Monday in Vienna with representatives of the social networking site.

The students, who formed Europe v. Facebook, filed 22 complaints with the Irish DPC in August and September 2011. Facebook committed to changing how it retains data and some privacy control following a critical audit by the regulator released in December.

The company also agreed voluntarily to meet with Europe v. Facebook to address the group's concerns. The six-hour meeting took place on Monday in Vienna's airport, according to a statement released by Europe v. Facebook on Tuesday.

Those attending the meeting were Richard Allan, Facebook's director of policy for Europe, and another Facebook representative. Max Schrems, a law student at the University of Vienna, and another student from the same university represented Europe v. Facebook.

The group characterized the discussion as friendly and positive, but said it still had "seriously doubts about a lot of Facebook's data usage."

Europe v. Facebook will get additional information from Facebook and will monitor changes the social networking site makes following the complaints. It said it plans to ask the Irish DPC for a formal decision if there are outstanding issues.

The DPC has said that if a complainant is not satisfied with the outcome, it will study the issues further and make a formal decision. If the complaining parties are still not satisfied, they can file an appeal with the courts.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com


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