Facebook Fined Record $1.3 Billion Over EU User Data Transfers to the US
Facebook owner Meta has been hit with a record $1.3 billion (€1.2 billion) fine by European Union regulators for mishandling user information, and has been ordered to suspend the transfer of data from users in the EU to the United States.
The fine was issued by Ireland's Data Protection Commission, which regulates Facebook across the EU, after it ruled that the social network's data transfers to the U.S. "did not address the risks to the fundamental rights and freedoms" of EU users and violated General Data Protection Regulation.
The fine constitutes the largest ever imposed under the EU's GDPR privacy law, the previous one being a €746 million penalty issued to Amazon in 2021 for similar privacy violations.
In addition to the fine, Meta was given five months to suspend any future transfer of personal data to the U.S., and six months to end "the unlawful processing, including storage, in the U.S." of transferred personal data. Instagram and WhatsApp, which Meta also owns, are not subject to the order.
A previous mechanism to legally transfer personal data between the U.S. and the EU, known as the "Privacy Shield" pact, was struck down by the EU bloc's top court in 2020. The Irish regulator alleged that Meta infringed on the EU's GDPR laws when it continued to transfer personal data to the U.S. after 2020 despite the court ruling.
The issue has been ongoing for a decade after a legal challenge brought by Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems against Facebook in 2013, over concerns resulting from the Edward Snowden revelations that EU user data is not sufficiently protected from U.S. intelligence agencies when transferred across the Atlantic.
"This decision is flawed, unjustified and sets a dangerous precedent for the countless other companies transferring data between the EU and U.S.," said Nick Clegg, Facebook's president of global affairs, responding to the decision in a blog post. "We will appeal the ruling, including the unjustified and unnecessary fine, and seek a stay of the orders through the courts."
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Top Rated Comments
-The fine should have been $10.3 Billion Dollars.
-Never Ever TRUST Facebook.
-Shut down Facebook to save Humanity.
The EU has indeed been a massive boon for the continent, for businesses and especially for its citizens: EU-internal borders are no longer keeping countries, supply chains and people apart; Harmonized EU regulations are the same across the continent so it is massively simpler to live and to sell across borders and even overall due to easy and fast trade across the continent.
EU regulations have generally replaced mountains of inconsistent national legislations, not added to them, so the overall result is simpler, not more complicated. (In many cases european regulations are to be implemented nationally, but the core regulation is still consistent across the continent this way, just adapted to the respective national framework. Of course some of those national implementations are more sensible and straightforward than others.)
And the EU bureaucracy is actually very small and lightweight in relation to the 450 million citizens it is working for.
Of course there is plenty of space to squabble about EU policies just as on any other level, but overall the EU makes a lot of sense and makes our lives and work a lot easier on the whole.
And many worker and citizen rights are nowadays based on EU regulations, too, as is the case with GDPR.