Austrian Lawyer Files Complaint Against Tech Firms Over GDPR

Lawyer Files Complaint Against Tech Firms

An Austrian lawyer has filed a complaint against eight tech giants, including Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Spotify and You Tube, for failing to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The lawyer, Max Schrems, is the chair of the Austrian nonprofit organization noyb. The organization requested private data from the companies about users, according to a report from Reuters.

The GDPR says that users have a right to know what information a company holds about them, as well as the sources of the data and who’s getting it.

“No service fully complied,” noyb said in a statement.

Companies that break the rules can see fines up to 4 percent of global revenues. The complaint from noyb was filed on behalf of 10 different users, the statement said.

“Many services set up automated systems to respond to access requests, but they often don’t even remotely provide the data that every user has a right to,” Schrems said. “This leads to structural violations of users’ rights, as these systems are built to withhold the relevant information.”

According to the noyb blog, two services simply ignored the organization’s request.

“While all other streaming services have provided some response to the request of users to access their data at least, the U.K. sports streaming service DAZN and the German music streaming service SoundCloud have not even responded.”

The company said the rest of the streaming services provided at least some raw data, but it lacked important info, “such as the sources and recipients of data or on how long data is actually stored (retention period). In many cases, the raw data was provided in cryptic formats that made it extremely hard or even impossible for an average user to understand the information. In many cases, certain types of raw data were also missing.”

Schrems is no stranger to privacy activism – he first took action against Facebook when he was a student in 2011. Now he’s a lawyer, and last year he filed complaints against Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook and Google, saying that the companies’ terms of service agreements were too intrusive, and that they were illegally forcing users to accept them in order to access the sites.