Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo and Skype have reportedly been helping the NSA collect data of private citizens through its PRISM program, documents alleging this were leaked some two weeks ago. While these companies have denied having any knowledge of PRISM, a group of Austrian students known as Europe-v-Facebook has filed complaints against these companies with the European Union, alleging that EU data protection laws have been violated by these companies.
The group says that since these companies do business in Europe through their subsidiaries, they’re bound to adhere to the Union’s privacy laws. Such data can only be exported if the subsidiary can guarantee an “adequate level of protection,” and since PRISM was a top secret program used for collecting data, the group believes that this requirement was not met, hence the alleged violation of EU’s privacy laws. Europe-v-Facebook is also looking to file complaints against Google and YouTube, but since they don’t have a European intermediate, the lodging of a complaint against them is a bit trickier. The group believes that since Google operates data centers in Finland, Belgium and Ireland, it will be able to take action against Google.