Facebook filed a lawsuit against EU competition regulators on Monday alleging that enforcers were improperly seeking access to sensitive employee personal data.The anti social media network said in a statement to financial newswire Reuters that EU regulators had made “exceptionally broad” demands for documents during an antitrust investigation into Facebook’s online marketplace.
Judge green-lights Facebook, WhatsApp hacking lawsuit against spyware biz NSO, unleashing Zuck's lawyersCommission’s requests means we would be required to turn over predominantly irrelevant documents that have nothing to do with the Commission’s investigations, including highly sensitive personal information such as employees’ medical information, personal financial documents, and private information about family members of employees.”
Notwithstanding Facebook's business model of encouraging the world's citizens to upload such details about themselves to Facebook's services for the company to monetise, the suit has been filed in the EU General Court in Luxembourg. It includes demands for the court to halt further EU regulatory data demands against Facebook until further notice. An EU Commission spokesman said it would defend the lawsuit.
Facebook also told the newswire that EU agents had demanded copies of any internal Facebook document containing phrases such as “not good for us”, “big question” and “shut down”, among 2,500 others.
The mere existence of the case is troubling for Brussels, which sees itself as a global centre for data protection and enforcement. For a US tech firm, no less, to try and enforce EU rules against the bloc itself is a significant political statement – though it seems unlikely the suit will be pursued all the way to a formal judgment.