Jan 192015
 January 19, 2015  Posted by  Business, Featured News, Non-U.S.

Winston Maxwell writes:

Like the United States, France has a broadly-worded consumer protection statute prohibiting unfair clauses in consumer contracts (the French term is “clauses abusives“).  What constitutes an “unfair” clause is in some cases fixed by regulation.  But in many cases, the term is left to the interpretation of the courts and France’s consumer protection agency, the DGCCRF.  France created an advisory panel to issue guidance on what constitutes an unfair clause in various circumstances.  On December 3, 2014, the panel published a lengthy opinion identifying 46 clauses in social media terms of use and privacy policies that the panel considers unfair.


The panel indicates that it is misleading for social media platforms to tell consumers that the service is free.  The contract should explain that the service is provided in exchange for the platform’s ability to use the consumer’s personal data to sell advertising.  Privacy policies that state that IP addresses and browsing habits are not personal data are also unfair and misleading, according to the panel, because they diverge from the French legal definition of personal data.

Read more on Hunton & Williams Chronicle of Data Protection.

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