Feeds

EC data protection proposals could open up Zuck's 'social graph'

Will Facebook be required to allow info transfer to *gasps* Google+?

Boost IT visibility and business value

Draft proposals on the European Commission's "general data protection regulation" have been leaked online.

The authenticity of the 116-page document (PDF) was corroborated by the EC, which The Register contacted on Wednesday afternoon.

Version 56 of the draft proposal was issued by Brussels on 29 November this year, and published by non-profit organisation Statewatch on its website.

The document says it "sets out to a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data."

Reding said in a speech yesterday that "[t]his right to 'data portability' will be an essential element of the legislative reform."

Brussels' officials are currently fine-tuning the now delayed proposals for revamping the 1995 Data Protection Directive. Those plans were originally to be published in the autumn, but are now expected to land next month.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission in the UK told El Reg that the leaked document should not be considered as a definitive version of the EC's plans.

"Draft proposals are circulated to every department (Directorate-General or DG in short) in the Commission. This is called inter-service consultations and every DG can make comments," she said.

"Therefore this is NOT the final proposal and is subject to change before its 'adoption' by the Commission expected before end of January 2012."

However, the document provides some interesting nuggets about what the EC has been mulling over.

Among other things, it states:

To further strengthen the control over their own data, data subjects should have the right, where personal data are processed by automated means, to obtain a copy of the data concerning them also in commonly used electronic format.

The data subject should also be allowed to transmit those data, which they have provided, from one automated application, such as a social network, into another one. This should apply where the data subject provided the data to the automated processing system, based on their consent or in the performance of a contract.

That's an interesting suggestion, given last year's high-profile spat between Google and Facebook over the latter's "social graph".

Facebook is clearly keen to protect its most valuable asset - by ring-fencing that data within its own siloed network.

Its terms currently state that no one should "collect users’ content or information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without our permission."

Google, in July this year, tried to help users ignore that term by offering up a Chrome extension that enables information about an individual's Facebook "friends" to be exported, thereby allowing data to be shuttled into competing services such as Google+.

Facebook wasn't happy, and quickly blocked the extension from being used on its site.

In November last year, Google cut off Facebook, which up to then had access to the company's Gmail contacts API. That process had helped Facebookers to import their contact details from Google's email service.

Google cut it dead and said it would only open the API up to Facebook if Mark Zuckerberg's company offered a similar data transfer interface to Mountain View.

For its part, Google - aided, we suggest, only by a melon spoon - has been trying to scoop out user data from Facebook for years now. Which leaves us with the following, yet to be answered, question: Is Brussels about to insist that process is opened up, to help players such as Google get its hands on Zuck's precious social graph? ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?