"Non siamo la pecora nera, e rispettiamo le stesse regole degli altri. Potremmo così sintetizzare il nocciolo della difesa di Facebook contro le accuse di alcune organizzazioni pro-privacy e utenti olandesi che hanno chiesto, con lettera formale, di impedire il trasferimento di dati personali degli iscritti verso gli Stati Uniti, dove risiedono molti suoi data center e molte delle sue aziende inserzioniste. Minacciando azioni legali nel caso il social network non interrompa questa pratica prima del 16 gennaio. Le radici della vicenda sono note: dalla denuncia inoltrata nel 2013 dallo studente austriaco Max Schrems, fino alla recente decisione della Corte di Giustizia dell’Unione Europea di invalidare gli accordi regolati dal Safe Harbor.Vero è che le nuove regole comunitarie travolgono non solo la creatura di Mark Zuckerberg bensì circa quattromila aziende statunitensi presenti sul Web, però è altrettanto vero che l’attenzione mediatica e le preoccupazioni si concentrano inevitabilmente su Facebook, luogo dove più di ogni altro le vite private diventano condivise. Ma anche il social network delle immagini, Instagram, e la più popolare fra le applicazioni di messaggistica, WhatsApp (entrambe proprietà dell’azienda di Menlo Park) sono coinvolti.

La lettera in questione, infatti, è stata inviata alle sedi di Facebook in California, in Olanda e in Irlanda così come alle sedi di Instagram e Whatsapp. Il mittente è uno studio legale di Amsterdam, Boekx, che parla in rappresentanza di tre associazioni pro-privacy (Stichting Privacy First, Public Interest Litigation Project e Dutch Platform for the Protection of Civil Rights) e di privati cittadini olandesi. La richiesta è, appunto, quella di interrompere il trasferimento dei dati verso gli States entro le ore 18 del gennaio, a meno di non voler incorrere in azioni legali.

Nelle parole dell’avvocato Otto Volgenant dello studio Boekx, “Vogliamo fare pressione su Facebook” e indurre Zuckerberg a pronunciarsi in merito al dibattito sulla privacy in corso nei governi di diversi Paesi. Se poi Facebook facesse ostruzionismo, la protesta degli olandesi potrebbe arrivare dapprima in un tribunale nazionale e poi da qui alla Corte Europea di Giustizia.

La replica della società californiana, arrivata tramite Forbes da un portavoce dell’azienda, Matt Steinfeld, esordisce ribadendo che il social network “utilizza i medesimi meccanismi impiegati da migliaia di altre aziende per trasferire legittimamente dati dall’Europa agli Stati Uniti e ad altri Paesi in tutto in mondo”. E poi fa una proposta: “Crediamo che il modo migliore per risolvere l’attuale dibattito sul trasferimento dei dati oltre l’oceano sia creare un nuovo patto di Safe Harbour, che garantisca adeguate tutele ai cittadini europei”. Il social network, dunque, non si sottrae alla possibilità di modifiche del regolamento ma anzi si auspica che le discussioni in corso fra organismi regolatori europei e statunitensi, e fra essi e i rispettivi governi sfocino presto in un “esito positivo”, ha dichiarato Steinfeld."

Source: http://www.ictbusiness.it/cont/news/l-attacco-olandese-e-la-difesa-facebook-non-siamo-peggio-di-altri/36065/1.html#.VoJYKfFIiUn, 17 December 2015.

"Facebook, Inc. and related entities have received a letter demanding them to stop EU-US data transfers until U.S. laws comply with the EU data protection regime, or risk lawsuit in the Netherlands. Facebook must cease transfer by 15 January 2016. The complaining parties have reserved rights to file suit if compliance is not forthcoming.

The demand and summons letter was sent today by the Boekx law firm in Amsterdam on behalf of numerous plaintiffs including:
• Privacy First Foundation (Stichting Privacy First)
• Public Interest Litigation Project PILP
• Dutch Platform for the Protection of Civil Rights
and other users of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. The letter was sent to Facebook Netherlands B.V., Facebook Ireland Limited, Facebook Inc. and Instagram LLC (California), and WhatsApp Inc. (California).

Facebook response

Facebook spokesperson Matt Steinfeld provided (...) the following written statement:

“Facebook uses the same mechanisms that thousands of others companies across the EU use to transfer data legally from the EU to the US, and to other countries around the world. We believe that the best solution to the on-going debate around transatlantic data transfers is for there to be a new Safe Harbor agreement with appropriate safeguards for EU citizens.”
“We understand that authorities in the EU and US are working hard to put such an agreement in place as soon as possible. We trust that these groups are engaging with their respective governments on this process to help it reach a successful conclusion.”

Lawsuit intended to pressure Facebook

Otto Volgenant of the Boekx stated to Dutch outlet RTLZ, “We want to put pressure on Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg must make its voice heard in the debate about privacy, the US government has the solution for this problem.” According to Volgenant (as reported), the case would first be brought in The Hague, which could exercise its option to refer the case to the European Court of Justice.

Volgenant predicted that such referral would not be made, given the clarity of law on the topic since the recent Schrems ruling of the European Court of Justice (discussed further below).

U.S. compliant-laws required

Specifically, the demand requires that Facebook “end the current unlawful transfer of personal data from the European Union to the United States” until the U.S. adopts laws “essentially equivalent to” European data protection laws, or face lawsuit in the Netherlands. The summons gives Facebook until Friday 15 January 2016 (18:00 CET) to cease EU-US transfers, or risk having a court force it and related Facebook entities, through an injunction, to cease such transfers.

Facebook “remarkably absent” in data privacy discussions

In its letter, Boekx accuses Facebook of being “remarkably absent” in the public debate over EU-US data transfers, following the European Court of Justice decision in Schrems, which decision invalidated the so-called “Safe Harbor Agreement” between the U.S. and the E.U. and thus made such transfers illegal under E.U. law., effective immediately upon rendering of that decision. (...)

The demand letter further articulates the specifics of the Schrems decision, including that court’s conclusions that the NSA violated “European fundamental rights to respect for private life” by its “access on a generalized basis to the content of electronic communications.”
(...)
The letter concludes:

If we cannot find an amicable solution and Facebook does not refrain from further transfer of personal data of data subjects from the European Union to the United States by then, we reserve the right to initiate legal proceedings in the Netherlands and to request a preliminary injunction from the competent Dutch Court."

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisabrownlee/2015/12/15/facebook-threatened-with-lawsuit-over-eu-us-data-transfers-facebook-response/, 15 December 2015.

"A Dutch court on Wednesday struck down a law requiring telecoms and Internet service providers to store their clients' private phone and email data, saying it breached European privacy rules.

"The judge ruled that data retention is necessary and effective to combat serious crime. Dutch legislation however infringes on the individual's right to privacy and the protection of personal data," the Hague district court said.

"The law therefore contravenes the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union," the court said in a statement.

Seven groups and organisations including privacy watchdog Privacy First and the Dutch Association of Journalists dragged the Dutch state to court last month over the issue.

The Dutch court's decision comes after the European Court of Justice in April 2014 struck down the European Union law that forced telecoms operators to store private phone and email data for up to two years, judging it too invasive, despite its usefulness in combating terrorism.

Advocate General Pedro Cruiz Villalon declared the 2006 legislation illegal and told the European Union's 28 member states to take the necessary steps to withdraw it.

The 2006 directive called for EU states to store individuals' Internet, mobile telephone and text metadata -- the time, date, duration and destination, but not the content of the communications themselves -- for six months to two years.

This data could then be accessed by national intelligence and police agencies.

"The privacy rights of Dutch citizens were violated en masse by this mass surveillance," said Vincent Boehre of Privacy First.

"Privacy First fights for a society in which innocent civilians do not have to feel that they are being constantly monitored," he said on the organisation's website in response to the ruling.

"The verdict of the Hague tribunal is an important step in that direction," said Boehre."

Source: http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/international/326442/dutch-court-nixes-data-storage-law-says-privacy-breached, 12 March 2015.

"La justice néerlandaise a annulé mercredi une loi exigeant le stockage de données personnelles, assurant que bien qu'utile à la lutte contre le crime, le texte violait la vie privée des utilisateurs des réseaux téléphoniques et d'internet.

"Les juges ont estimé que le stockage de données était nécessaire et efficace pour combattre le crime, mais la législation néerlandaise est contraire aux droits des personnes à une vie privée et à la protection de leurs données personnelles", a indiqué le tribunal de La Haye dans un communiqué.

"La loi est donc contraire à la Charte des droits fondamentaux de l'Union européenne", a ajouté le tribunal.

Sept organisations, dont l'organisation de défense de la vie privée Privacy First et l'Association néerlandaise des Journalistes, avaient entamé une action contre l?État le mois dernier.

Cette décision des juges intervient environ un an après une décision de la justice européenne, qui avait imposé en avril 2014 une révision de la législation sur la conservation des données personnelles, la jugeant "disproportionnée" malgré son utilité dans la lutte contre le terrorisme.

La directive en question datait de 2006 et exigeait des opérateurs de télécoms et des fournisseurs d'accès internet de stocker les données des communications téléphoniques ou de courriels pendant six mois à deux ans.

Étaient donc conservées les métadonnées desdites communications, comme l'heure, la date, la durée et la destination, mais pas leur teneur.

Ces données pouvaient ensuite être consultées par les services de renseignement ou la police.

"Les droits à une vie privée des citoyens néerlandais ont été violés en masse par cette surveillance", a affirmé Vincent Boehre, le directeur des opérations de Privacy First, cité dans un communiqué publié sur le site internet de l'organisation.

Privacy First "lutte pour une société dans laquelle des civils innocents ne doivent pas se sentir comme s'ils étaient constamment surveillés", a-t-il ajouté, soulignant que ce jugement est "une étape importante dans cette direction"."

Source: http://www.leparisien.fr/high-tech/la-justice-neerlandaise-annule-une-loi-sur-les-donnees-personnelles-11-03-2015-4595081.php, 11 March 2015.

"A Dutch court struck down a law requiring telecoms and Internet service providers to store their clients' private phone and e-mail data, saying it breached European privacy rules.

"The judge ruled that data retention is necessary and effective to combat serious crime. Dutch legislation however infringes on the individual's right to privacy and the protection of personal data," the Hague district court said.

"The law therefore contravenes the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union," the court said in a statement.

Seven groups and organisations including privacy watchdog Privacy First and the Dutch Association of Journalists dragged the Dutch state to court last month over the issue.

The Dutch court's decision comes after the European Court of Justice in April 2014 struck down the European Union law that forced telecoms operators to store private phone and e-mail data for up to two years, judging it too invasive, despite its usefulness in combating terrorism.

Advocate General Pedro Cruiz Villalon declared the 2006 legislation illegal and told the European Union's 28 member states to take the necessary steps to withdraw it.

The 2006 directive called for EU states to store individuals' Internet, mobile telephone and text metadata – the time, date, duration and destination, but not the content of the communications themselves – for six months to two years.

This data could then be accessed by national intelligence and police agencies.

"The privacy rights of Dutch citizens were violated en masse by this mass surveillance," said Vincent Boehre of Privacy First.

"Privacy First fights for a society in which innocent civilians do not have to feel that they are being constantly monitored," he said on the organisation's website in response to the ruling.

"The verdict of the Hague tribunal is an important step in that direction," said Boehre."

Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/Tech/Tech-News/2015/03/12/Dutch-court-nixes-data-storage-law-says-privacy-breached/, 12 March 2015.

"A Dutch court on Wednesday struck down a law requiring telecoms and Internet service providers to store their clients' private phone and email data, saying it breached European privacy rules.

"The judge ruled that data retention is necessary and effective to combat serious crime. Dutch legislation however infringes on the individual's right to privacy and the protection of personal data," the Hague district court said.

"The law therefore contravenes the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union," the court said in a statement.

Seven groups and organisations including privacy watchdog Privacy First and the Dutch Association of Journalists dragged the Dutch state to court last month over the issue.

The Dutch court's decision comes after the European Court of Justice in April 2014 struck down the European Union law that forced telecoms operators to store private phone and email data for up to two years, judging it too invasive, despite its usefulness in combating terrorism.

Advocate General Pedro Cruiz Villalon declared the 2006 legislation illegal and told the European Union's 28 member states to take the necessary steps to withdraw it.

The 2006 directive called for EU states to store individuals' Internet, mobile telephone and text metadata - the time, date, duration and destination, but not the content of the communications themselves - for six months to two years.

This data could then be accessed by national intelligence and police agencies.

"The privacy rights of Dutch citizens were violated en masse by this mass surveillance," said Vincent Boehre of Privacy First.

"Privacy First fights for a society in which innocent civilians do not have to feel that they are being constantly monitored," he said on the organisation's website in response to the ruling.

"The verdict of the Hague tribunal is an important step in that direction," said Boehre."

Source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/tech/world-updates/494578/dutch-court-nixes-data-storage-law-says-privacy-breached, 12 March 2015.

"A judge scrapped the Netherlands' data retention law Wednesday, saying that while it helps solve crimes it also breaches the privacy of telephone and Internet users.

The ruling followed a similar decision in April by the European Union's top court that wiped out EU data collection legislation it deemed too broad and offering too few privacy safeguards.

The Security and Justice Ministry said it was considering an appeal.

Under the Dutch law, telephone companies were required to store information about all fixed and mobile phone calls for a year. Internet providers had to store information on their clients' Internet use for six months.

The written judgment by Judge G.P. van Ham conceded that scrapping the data storage "could have far-reaching consequences for investigating and prosecuting crimes" but added that this could not justify the privacy breaches the law entails.

The judge did not set a deadline for disposing of the data.

Privacy First, one of the organizations that took the government to court, said the ruling "will bring to an end years of massive privacy breaches" in the Netherlands.

The government said after last year's European court ruling that it would amend its law.

In a written statement, the Security and Justice Ministry said it regretted the court's decision.

"Providers are no longer required to store data for investigations," the statement said. "The ministry is seriously concerned about the effect this will have on fighting crime.""

Source: http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1274008-judge-overturns-dutch-data-retention-legislation, 11 March 2015.

"A Dutch court Wednesday handed a victory to privacy advocates by striking down a data-retention law that gives the government easy access to telecommunication data.

The District court of The Hague said the law, which requires telecom providers to collect and store data for as long as 12 months, violates citizens' right to privacy and the right to protection of personal data. "The judge finds that this violation is not limited to what is strictly necessary," it said.

The ruling, which can still be appealed, is a blow to the Dutch government, which said the law was important to fight terrorism and organized crime. But it is a victory for privacy advocates, journalists and criminal lawyers in the Netherlands who argued that the law was unconstitutional because data are kept regardless of whether citizens are a suspect or not.

A spokesman for the Dutch ministry of Security and Justice wasn't immediately available to comment on the ruling.

The court's decision is effective immediately, which means that telecommunication companies are no longer obligated to store and collect data.

Most of the big providers weren't immediately available for comment, with some saying their legal experts need time to assess the implications.

"There are multiple layers in this ruling. We need to know how we should interpret it," a Tele2 spokesman said.

The lawsuit was the latest in a decade of legal challenges to data-retention across Europe. First adopted under an European Union directive dating to 2006, such rules generally require telecom providers to collect and store data about their users' mobile phone traffic and location for as long as two years.

But in several countries, including Germany, data-retention laws have since been tossed out on privacy grounds. And last spring, the European Union Court of Justice, the bloc's highest court, struck down the underlying directive requiring countries to implement the rules in the first place, saying it didn't have sufficient safeguards for individual's right to privacy.

In the Netherlands, where a data-retention law was enacted in 2009, the Dutch government has shown reluctance to scrap the law for security reasons. (...)"

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/03/11/dutch-court-strikes-down-countrys-data-retention-law/, 12 March 2015.

"A judge scrapped the Netherlands' data retention law Wednesday, saying that while it helps solve crimes it also breaches the privacy of telephone and Internet users.

The ruling by a judge in The Hague followed a similar decision in April by the European Union's top court that wiped out EU data collection legislation it deemed too broad and offering too few privacy safeguards.

The Security and Justice Ministry said it was considering an appeal.

Under the Dutch law, telephone companies were required to store information about all fixed and mobile phone calls for a year. Internet providers had to store information on their clients' Internet use for six months.

The written judgment by Judge G.P. van Ham conceded that scrapping the data storage "could have far-reaching consequences for investigating and prosecuting crimes" but added that this could not justify the privacy breaches the law entails.

The judge did not set a deadline for disposing of the data.

Privacy First, one of the organizations that took the government to court, said the ruling "will bring to an end years of massive privacy breaches" in the Netherlands.

The government said after last year's European court ruling that it would amend its law.

In a written statement, the Security and Justice Ministry said it regretted the court's decision.

"Providers are no longer required to store data for investigations," the statement said. "The ministry is seriously concerned about the effect this will have on fighting crime.""

Source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11415850, 12 March 2015.

"A judge in the Netherlands has struck down a Dutch law that forces local telcos to store customer internet and phone metadata.

The law is similar to legislation being proposed by the Abbott government.

The ruling by a judge in The Hague on Wednesday followed a similar decision in April by the European Union's top court that wiped out EU data collection legislation it deemed too broad and offering too few privacy safeguards.

The judge said that while the metadata retention law helped solve crimes, it also breached the privacy of telephone and internet users.

The Dutch Justice and Security Ministry said it was considering an appeal.

Under the Dutch law, telephone companies were required to store information about all fixed and mobile phone calls for a year. Internet providers had to store information on their clients' internet use for six months.

The written judgment by Judge G. P. van Ham conceded that scrapping the data storage "could have far-reaching consequences for investigating and prosecuting crimes" but added that this could not justify the privacy breaches the law entails.

The judge did not set a deadline for disposing of the data.

The ruling follows Australian Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull telling the bosses of news organisations concerned about journalists' sources being exposed that Australia's data retention bill was being overblown as an issue.

The government wants the bill legislated by the end of this month.

The minister, who began meeting the bosses this week, said his message to them was that law enforcement and security authorities already had access to metadata and there were no exemptions for journalists.

"The only thing the data retention law is requiring is that types of metadata which are currently retained will be retained in the future for at least two years," Mr Turnbull told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

"This whole metadata retention issue has been overblown by a lot of people; the changes are not as substantial as people make out."

The Dutch ruling also comes as Prime Minister Tony Abbott's office began offering briefings to media organisations with Australian Federal Police officials in an attempt to calm their concerns. The briefings are being arranged for several of Australia's most prominent media bosses before they front an inquiry examining the protection of journalists' sources on March 20, where they are expected to oppose Australia's data retention laws on the basis that they will result in journalists' sources being exposed in leak investigations.

The media bosses' concerns follow Britain rushing through guidelines for access to journalists' metadata after it was revealed that more than 600 applications in a three-year period were made for journalists' metadata by 19 different law enforcement agencies.

The Australian Federal Police has repeatedly refused to provide Fairfax Media with similar figures in Australia and recently refused to divulge the figure under freedom of information laws to another publication.

In the 2013-14 financial year, there were more than 500,000 disclosures of metadata to various agencies, including Centrelink, the Tax Office, Australia Post and traditional policing agencies.

Critics have described the Australian proposal as unnecessary, not proportionate, and a privacy violation.

The Australian journalists' union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, said it would have a "chilling effect" on reporting.

But Mr Turnbull said the two-year retention period was vital for investigating crime and terrorism.

After the Dutch ruling, Privacy First, one of the organisations that took the Dutch government to court, said the ruling would "bring to an end years of massive privacy breaches" in the Netherlands.

In a written statement, the Dutch Justice and Security Ministry said it regretted the court's decision.

"Providers are no longer required to store data for investigations," the statement said. "The ministry is seriously concerned about the effect this will have on fighting crime.""

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/consumer-security/dutch-do-a-uturn-on-metadata-laws-20150312-141rkl.html, 12 March 2015.

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