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US Companies Still Mine Europeans` Private Data despite Promises, CDD says

Bianca STANESCU

August 14, 2014

US Companies Still Mine Europeans` Private Data despite Promises, CDD says

Dozens of US tech companies, including Adobe Systems, AOL and Salesforce.com, continue to violate Europeans` privacy despite promises to comply, according to the Center for Digital Democracy. The advocacy group filed a complaint against 30 data brokers, tech giants and data management firms that promised to better handle personal information of EU residents.

“The commercial surveillance of EU consumers by U.S. companies, without consumer awareness or meaningful consent, contradicts the fundamental rights of EU citizens and European data protection law,” the complaint reads, according to PC World.

US Companies Still Mine Europeans` Private Data despite Promises, CDD saysThe companies have all voluntarily said they will comply with the EU Safe Harbor framework, a set of standards designed for better data privacy. The Center for Digital Democracy claims the failure to keep promises constitutes “a deceptive business practice,” as the accused companies continue to create “detailed digital dossiers.”

Many companies listed in the complaint don`t offer the ability to opt out of data collection, according to the center. Private data includes public records the companies combine with online tracking technologies, mobile tracking and other sources that give them user details such as addresses, purchase histories, income and family structure.

The advocacy group also criticized the Federal Trade Commission and the US Department of Commerce, which helped develop the Safe Harbor framework, for not putting “enough pressure on these companies to assure compliance.”

Companies that allegedly failed to keep their promises also include digital profiling firm Datalogix, marketing software maker Marketo, Oracle-owned data management firm BlueKai, and Neustar, a DNS and call routing service that recently became an advertising provider.

The complaint was filed to the Federal Trade Commission, which declined to comment, according to PC World. Oracle, Adobe and AOL representatives also failed to answer media requests.

The Safe Harbor Privacy Act includes seven principles regarding issues such as security, choice (opt out of data collection), and transfer to third parties.

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