Google and Facebook face $9.3bn in fines for violating GDPR laws

28 May, 2018, 11:51 | Author: Julian Harrison
  • Google and Facebook face $9.3bn in fines for violating GDPR laws

General Data Protection Regulation is a new set of rules and regulations for how internet companies should behave in Europe.

"Unfortunately, our website is now unavailable in most European countries", said the message carried by the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, Baltimore Sun and Orlando Sentinel.

At a time when several technology companies have come under the scanner for misuse of personal data of users, the new European Union legislation, passed in April 2016, is seen as an attempt by the lawmakers to restrict the powers of the technology companies. The lawsuits were filed by Austrian privacy rights activist Max Schrems.

You may have noticed your inbox is flooded lately with several companies suddenly announcing new privacy policies.

European privacy regulators signalled that they were ready to flex their muscles but were not "sanctioning machines".

"Over the last 18 months, we have taken steps to update our products, policies and processes to provide users with meaningful data transparency and control across all the services that we provide in the EU", Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, said in an emailed statement.

This law is only in effect in the European Union because the digital world has no boarders, companies in the USA have to follow the rule too. But opponents say the new rules are overly burdensome and have warned of costly business disruption. Further, a consumer can also transfer the data regarding herself from one company to another, and instruct the former to delete the same, which is of particular relevance to healthcare providers, insurance companies etc. GDPR also requires a firm to inform a client within 72 hours in case of a data breach.




Even though the rules were officially adopted two years ago, with a grace period until now to adapt to them, companies have been slow to act, resulting in a last-minute scramble this week.

"It's a gradual and not a revolutionary kind of thing ..."

Europe's sweeping data protection law came into force on Friday. These principles should lie at the heart of your approach to processing personal data.

"Companies should be aware about other repercussions as well". That is a clear violation of the GDPR's guidelines around particularised consent.

Webb said news organizations could find it especially hard to comply because of the need for consent in organizing feeds and promoting content. On the same day, Martechtoday.com gives this emphasis: "Recognizing that data can travel well beyond the borders of the EU, GDPR provides protection to EU citizens no matter where their data travels". Just in case you don't know yet, we do have our own data privacy law - the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA).

For example, music streaming services such as Spotify create playlists for users based on their music preferences.

As you continue reviewing your information, each screen will walk you through what data is collected and how it's used, allowing you to make better decisions about Facebook's use of your data. The Belgian law significantly strengthens the regulator's investigatory powers and notably gives it the ability to impose fines and sanctions for violating the data protection law.

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