Search engine Google and Social Notworking outfit Facebook are dragging the French government to court this week.
Last modified on Friday, 08 April 2011 09:05
The pair are the heavyweights behind the French Association of Internet Community Services (ASIC). They are opposing a plan which forces them to keep web users' personal data for a year and banning Roast Beef from their corporate head offices. The case will be heard by the State Council, which is France's highest judicial body ever since they beheaded their lawful king and his daft missus.
Internet outfits will have to keep users' full names, postal addresses, telephone numbers and passwords unencrypted on a server in their companies somewhere. The data must be handed over to the authorities if demanded. After that Police, the fraud office, customs, tax, social security bodies and interested Crackers, spammers and cyber criminals will all have access, either legally or not.
ASIC head Benoit Tabaka believes that the data law is unnecessarily draconian and was carried out without consultation with the European Commission. This is particularly galling as the it means that the bigger Internet outfits will have to store data for the whole of Europe just to keep the French happy.
Everyone in Blighty knows that it is impossible to keep the French happy even if you rescue them from the Germans twice. Tabaka told the BBC that passwords should not be collected and warned that retaining them could have security implications. The group wants the law cancelled, torn up and preferably stamped on.
Of course Google does not like the French much. It was the French privacy watchdog, CNIL, which took great pleasure in levying the heaviest fine against the search outfit when it accidentally collected personal data during the setting up of its Street View service.