French Watchdog Group Files Suit Against Facebook, Twitter And Google
March 26, 2014

French Watchdog Group Files Suit Against Facebook, Twitter, Google Over Abusive And Illegal Practices

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

French consumer protection group UFC-Que Choisir said on Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit against Twitter, Facebook and Google, accusing the tech giants of breaching Internet users' privacy.

The group, which advises consumers about services, products and their rights, said it filed the suit in the Paris high court for what it called the "abusive" and "illegal" clauses in the user agreements for the three companies’ social networks.

UFC-Que Choisir had warned the tech companies last summer that it would file suit if their concerns over the terms of use and data-collection practices were not addressed.

"After several months of talks and despite our warnings, they are stubbornly maintaining clauses that the association considers abusive or illegal," the organization said in a statement according to the AFP news agency.

UFC-Que Choisir called the terms of use for the three social networks "inaccessible, unreadable and full of hypertext links," with some links available only in English.

"Worse, the networks persist in authorizing the widespread collection, modification, preservation and use of the data of users and even of those around them," the group said.

"Faced with such abuses," UFC-Que Choisir is asking the French court to "order the suppression or modification of the myriad of contentious clauses imposed by these companies."

The three Internet giants now have the opportunity to provide a written responses to UFC-Que Choisir and to the court.

Alexandra Neri, an attorney for Google and Twitter, told CNN she could not comment on the lawsuit until receiving the formal summons and complaint, which can take up to a month.

European nations have increasingly cracked down on the controversial privacy policies of leading Internet firms. In January, France imposed a 150,000-euro ($207,000) fine, the maximum allowable by law, on Google for failing to comply with privacy guidelines.