Meta has copped one other large positive from regulators, with the European Data Protection Board (EDPU) hitting the corporate with a €1.2 billion penalty – equal to $1.3 billion USD – for transferring EU consumer knowledge again to the US with out express permission or enough protections in place.
The positive, the biggest of its sort in historical past, pertains to Meta’s knowledge transfers since 2020, when the EU applied its extra stringent GDPR regulations. The GDPR offers customers extra management over their private knowledge and the way it’s used, and its implementation meant that Meta would want to take extra definitive measures to guard EU citizen info.
Meta has repeatedly famous that its prepared to work with the EU to replace its method on this entrance. However regardless, Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems argued that its methods are usually not in compliance with the intent of the EU coverage, and subsequently expose EU customers to knowledge surveillance within the US, thus breaking worldwide regulation, and resulting in this newest positive.
Meta has additionally been ordered to deliver its knowledge transfers into compliance with the GDPR, or face potential suspension within the area.
As per EDPU:
“The EDPB discovered that Meta IE’s infringement may be very critical because it issues transfers which might be systematic, repetitive and steady. Fb has hundreds of thousands of customers in Europe, so the amount of non-public knowledge transferred is very large. The unprecedented positive is a powerful sign to organizations that critical infringements have far-reaching penalties.”
In response, Meta has stated that it’ll appeal the decision, whereas additionally highlighting the dangers of fragmenting the net because of this method.
“With out the power to switch knowledge throughout borders, the web dangers being carved up into nationwide and regional silos, proscribing the worldwide financial system and leaving residents in numerous international locations unable to entry lots of the shared providers we now have come to depend on. That’s why offering a sound authorized foundation for the switch of information between the EU and the US has been a political precedence on each side of the Atlantic for a few years.”
And as famous, Meta additionally says that it has been working in good religion with EU regulators on a new Knowledge Privateness Framework, which might allow a extra collaborative decision to the difficulty, whereas additionally recognizing that Meta has acted in good religion in complying with present legal guidelines.
However now, Meta says, the EDPU has gone towards this, in issuing a positive primarily based on what it claims is an unfair studying of its efforts.
It’s a serious blow for the corporate, at a time when it’s already reeling from the worldwide downturn in advert spend, and restrictions on knowledge assortment because of Apple’s iOS 14 replace. Meta’s culled thousands of jobs over the past year, and you may solely think about that this new positive will solely squeeze the corporate additional, because it continues to invest heavily in Zuckerberg’s metaverse vision.
And the ache will not be over for Meta but. Along with in the present day’s positive, Meta might also be up for civil litigation, as a consequence of an upcoming change in EU regulation, whereas it might additionally face one more significant loss in ad revenue because of any suspensions that will stem from this ruling.
As such, it’s no shock to see Meta difficult the positive. However authorized consultants don’t see any possible way for Meta to keep away from paying, or settling with the EU to a big diploma.
It’s additionally fascinating from an information switch perspective, amid broader debate round TikTok’s potential hyperlinks to the Chinese language Authorities. As Meta notes, shifts like this threat splintering the web, and siloing off totally different areas into their very own on-line fiefdoms, which might make future interplay extra restricted.
That might be the top results of rulings like this – although it’s value additionally noting that Zuckerberg himself has, prior to now, made efforts to get TikTok restricted in the US on comparable grounds (although Zuckerberg has since famous that banning the app would set a ‘really bad long-term precedent’).
The subsequent step shall be a protracted courtroom battle, as Meta seeks to scale back the penalty. However finally, it does appear that Meta must pay, whereas it’ll additionally have to replace its EU insurance policies according to the ruling.