Home >IT >Article

Facebook tries to block EU access to ‘highly sensitive’ employee data

Facebook tries to block EU access to ‘highly sensitive’ employee data

NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook has temporarily blocked the European Commission from accessing data that it believes would include “irrelevant documents” and “highly sensitive personal information” about its employees. The EU’s executive branch had requested the information to support a preliminary probe into whether the social media giant was engaging in anticompetitive practices.

Tim Lamb,Facebook’s Director and Associate General Counsel for Competition,said the company was “cooperating” with the investigation and understood it would need to hand over hundreds of thousands of documents. As the BBC reports,the Commission’s request included over 2,500 specific phrases including “big question,” “shut down” and “not good for us.” Lamb argued that the net was too large and would return data about employees’ medical histories and family members. “We think such requests should be reviewed by the EU Courts,” he said in a statement.

As CNBC reports,Facebook has already provided 315,000 documents spanning 1.7 million pages to the Commission. The company also offered a secure-viewing room to pore over sensitive but unrelated documents,according to the BBC,but the investigation team said no.

As EUobserver reports (via MLex),Facebook has filed a complaint with a European Union-managed court. The action has triggered a temporary halt while the court considers Facebook’s filing. It doesn’t mean Zuckerberg’s company has won,or that the European Commission will need to give up its anti-competition investigations. Instead,it’s merely a holding state ahead of a more substantial decision.

Back in December,the European Commission told Reuters it was investigating some of Facebook’s business practices,such as how it is “gathered,processed,used and monetized [data],including for advertising purposes.” Few other details were shared,however. The probe followed a similar line of inquiry into Facebook Marketplace,an eBay-style service that allows anyone to buy and sell second-hand products.

The Commission’s concerns run deeper than that,though. As The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports,the preliminary probe has partly stemmed from a lawsuit filed by app developer Six4Three back in 2015. The company claimed that Facebook was restricting some,but not all developers’ access to user data. That case eventually resulted in the UK government releasing a huge amount of previously-private information and documents related to Facebook.

It shed light on some bullish tactics that were used several years ago,such as the company’s decision to cut Vine off from the Friends API.

Facebook never refuted the documents,but told Engadget that they had been released in a way “that is very misleading without additional context.” The company had also made several changes to the way it does business with developers,especially after grappling with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

According to the WSJ,the Commission is also mindful of Onavo,a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app that allowed Facebook to monitor the applications and websites that users visited. The iOS version was shuttered in August 2018,followed by the Android app in February 2019.


验证码 换一张
Hotest in the past 3 months
  • Related
  • 业界资讯
  • 手机通讯
  • 电脑办公
  • 新奇数码
  • 软件游戏
  • 科学探索