Sure, we know that Facebook has an unnervingly huge stash of knowledge on each of its users, but just what does all of that virtual activity add up to? One 24-year old in Austria had that reality check delivered — literally — after requesting a copy of all of the personal data that the social network had stored over the years. Facebook sent Vienna resident Max Schrems a CD stuffed with 1,222 massive PDF files worth of status updates, login info, Likes, and more.
The CD included a tome of info collecting "friend requests, former or alternative names and email addresses, employment and relationship statuses and photos, in some cases with their GPS locations included," not to mention plenty of data that Schrems was under the impression that he had deleted from Facebook entirely.
Unlike in the U.S., European Facebook users can legally request to have the company fork over the personal data it collects over time. In the U.K. and Ireland, the company is legally bound to mail out a CD like the one Schrems received within 40 days of a request. While an email containing the personal data would suffice in the eyes of the law, it's unlikely that Gmail would look kindly on an attachment large enough to capture one of Facebook's social data mega-files.
Inspired by the sheer mass of nuanced digital dirt that the Facebook CD dredged up, Schrems is spearheading Europe v. Facebook, a project that aims to raise awareness about Facebook's "vague and contradictory" privacy policies — not to mention the company's practice of holding onto personal data that its users might believe is long gone.
This article originally appeared on Tecca
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