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Irish privacy boss hauled to court for NOT probing Facebook for spook links

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An Austrian student is taking Ireland's data protection watchdog to court after the privacy regulator declined to investigate allegations that Facebook allowed US spooks to slurp its data.

The Irish privacy office, headed up by data protection commissioner Billy Hawkes, told The Register that judicial review proceedings were now underway. It said:

In line with the [High] Court's procedures, that request was dealt with on an 'ex parte' basis, i.e. the Commissioner was not present in Court, and the request was uncontested.

Now that the matter is the subject of ongoing court proceedings, this Office is not in a position to comment on the matter, other than to confirm that we will be vigorously defending our position.

Max Schrems, a long-time critic of Facebook's perceived privacy-lite business practices in Europe who fronts the “europe-v-facebook” group, said he took action after Hawkes had dismissed his complaint.

He claimed, in light of the PRISM outrage, that Facebook could not protect the data of users in Europe if it was proved that the Mark Zuckerberg-run company - which transfers all the personal information it holds on 1.15 billion people to the US - was harvesting some of that data for National Security bods to snoop on.

"The DPC [Hawkes] simply wanted to get this hot potato off his table instead of doing his job," Schrems argued.

But when it comes to the fundamental rights of millions of users and the biggest surveillance scandal in years, he will have to take responsibility and do something about it." ®

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