Google Fights France on Data Storage Rule

Twenty-six Internet companies, including Google, tomorrow will lodge a complaint with France’s State Council, the country’s highest judical body, in opposition of a decree that forces sites to store users’ private data for a year.

According to the AFP report, the decree forces e-commerce sites, music video sites, and email providers to keep the following customer data for a full year:

  • Users’ full names
  • Associated postal address
  • Pseudonyms
  • Associated email addresses
  • Telephone number
  • Passwords
  • Data used to check or modify them

That data could then be handed over to police, the fraud office, customs, tax, or social security authorities. Google, Facebook, Dailymotion, eBay, and several other websites are being represented by the French Association of Internet Community Services (ASIC).

“Several elements are problematic. For instance, there was no consultation with the European Commission,” said ASIC head Benoit Tabaka. “This is a shocking measure, this obligation to keep passwords and hand them over to police services.”

So, is this about protecting the privacy of their users? No, the companies really don’t want to deal with the security risks of storing passwords for that long. Plus, these rules put an “unfair, costly burden on the companies.”

This privacy situation is also somewhat ironic, considering Google was fined €100,000 ($142,000 U.S.) not too long ago after collecting emails and passwords off unsecured Wi-Fi networks with Street View.

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