The group also criticizes the opinion of an expert used by the DPC that said that because there were no widely reported data breaches Facebook is secure. "This is like an engineer that says that as long as he hasnt read about a bridge collapsing it should be perfectly safe," the group said.
Europe vs. Facebook prepared its report for the DPC, which had asked the group to comment on its findings. In the report, the group reiterated its request that the DPC deliver all necessary files, evidence and counterarguments disclosed by Facebook that the group has not been allowed to see. Once it has this information, the group will ask the DPC for a formal, legally binding decision on all 22 complaints it has made. The conclusions of the last audit were non-binding.
However, the group expects that "the authority might not decide in the interest of users on all complaints," which would make a court procedure the only option left. When this case becomes before the court it is likely to go all the way to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), because user privacy is important enough to be a "landmark for the whole IT industry," Europe vs. Facebook said.
Legal action would be primarily directed at the Irish DPC, said Max Schrems, the Austrian law student who founded the group. "But Facebook can join them and we expect them to do so," he said, adding that if that happens Facebook would be a party in the litigation. The main problem is with Facebook and not with the DPC, he emphasized.
Schrems expects to need between ¬100,000 and ¬300,000 to cover court costs, and has launched a crowd funding platform at crowd4privacy.org to seek donations. At the time of writing, almost ¬6,000 had been donated.
The Irish DPC had not yet received Europe vs. Facebook's report, but assumed that it will receive it shortly, spokeswoman Catriona Holohan said via email.
"Any input from them when received will be assessed as part of the preparation of the draft decisions they have sought," Holohan said, adding that Facebook will be asked for clarification if that is required.