On March 1, the French government published a new regulation that mandates Web companies keep identifying user data — including username and passwords — for a year in case authorities need access to it.
Under the umbrella of the French Association of Internet Community Services (ASIC), Google, Microsoft, Facebook and EBay among others, are challenging the new mandate by taking it to France's State Council, the country's highest judicial body.
France has some of the world's toughest rules on Internet use, including the "Hadopi" law setting out fines for illegal downloading.
"The data that's especially sensitive for us is the password," said [Benoit] Tabaka, who is also the legal director of French retail site PriceMinister. "For us this is clearly not identification data, but personal data."
The AFP reports that the decree compels e-commerce sites, as well as video and music sharing sites to keep "users' full names, associated postal address, pseudonyms, associated email addresses, telephone number, passwords and data used to check or modify them."
Tabaka, the AFP reports, called the measure "shocking" and said France had not consulted the European Union.