For years, Internet users have allowed large digital platforms to collect data about them-purchases, location, pages consulted, photos, messages, contacts-in exchange for free access to their services
The new General Regulation on the Protection of Personal Data (RGPD) will consolidate in Europe the struggle of the associations that have been defending “digital frugality” for years, or the art of not leaving their data spread throughout the web.
For years, Internet users have allowed large digital platforms to collect data about them – purchases, location, pages consulted, photos, messages, contacts – in exchange for free access to their services.
Defense associations try to explain why it is dangerous for these platforms to have such detailed access to our activities. The new European regulation will help them in this task.
Although it does not really grant many more rights to Internet users, this new regulation “will put pressure on companies to respect those rights”, summarizes Sylvain Steer, academic and member of the Center for Studies on Citizenship, Information and Freedoms (CECIL). ).
The new European regulation foresees potentially colossal fines for companies that violate the rights of users, that is up to 20 million euros or up to 4% of their turnover (the highest applies).
The NGOs may also organize group actions that bring together thousands of users to attack the violating companies before the courts.
“When a complaint is filed with thousands and thousands of names, the supervisory authority can not put it under the others,” as can be the case with an individual claim, explains Arthur Messaud, a lawyer with the Quadrature du Net law firm.
This association does not intend to lose a minute after the entry into force on May 25 of the new European regulation. On the same day, he plans to file a group complaint against the “GAFAM” (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft) before the CNIL, the competent body in France.
“The authorization requested by the GAFAM” to obtain data “is not free, as required by the RGPD, since you can not access their services if they do not give it,” says Arthur Messaud.
Quadrature du Net recommends using alternative platforms, such as Mastodon, a free social network comparable to Twitter, or Diaspora, similar to Facebook.
According to Sylvain Steer, there is a “progressive awareness” among Internet users of the danger of giving their personal data to GAFAM in order to use their services.
– New friends –
“I had a case of a furious person to see that Facebook proposed advertising on the treatment for scoliosis, but had never mentioned” this disease on the Internet, but probably only had consulted specialized pages, explains.
“There are people who are also worried when they see that Facebook proposes new friends, who are really people who were in the same place, at the same time,” he adds.
The CECIL created a series of information sheets so that Internet users can take advantage of all the advantages of the Internet, without leaving too much personal data on the network.
He also recommended the use of alternative platforms that do not seek to preserve the personal data of its users: browsers such as Firefox, search engines such as Qwant or Duck Duck Go (which do not preserve searches), and encrypted email services such as ProtonMail.
“People say that nobody uses Diaspora or Mastodon, but hey, if nobody starts …”, regrets Hélène Testud, member of CECIL.
But “nobody is perfect,” he admits. This member of the Pirate Party confesses that she herself still has a Gmail and Facebook account.
“But I do not tell my life, it’s only for professional reasons,” he says.