London – The European Union on Monday handed Meta a record $1.3 billion privacy fine and ordered it to stop transferring user data across the Atlantic, a new chapter in a decades-long saga. It started with concerns about US cyber espionage.
The €1.2bn fine imposed by Ireland’s data protection commission is the biggest since stricter EU data privacy rules came into force five years ago, with €746m claimed from Amazon in 2021 for breaching data protection rules crossed the
The Irish agency is Meta’s main privacy regulator in the 27-nation bloc as the Silicon Valley company has its European headquarters in Dublin.
Meta, which warned it could cut services for its users in Europe, appealed and asked the courts to immediately suspend the decision.
“Facebook in Europe is not being shut down immediately,” the company said.
“This decision is flawed, unfair and sets a dangerous precedent for the myriad other companies that transfer data between the EU and the US,” said Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, and Jennifer Newsted, the company’s chief legal officer. This is a statement.
It’s a new twist in a legal battle that began in 2013, when Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems sued Facebook over the way it handled his data following US cyber-espionage revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. did.
The saga has left differences on the table between Washington and Brussels over the strict European position on data privacy and the comparatively lax regulations of the United States, where there is no federal privacy law.
The European Union has been at the forefront of the world in limiting the power of big technology companies, with a series of rules that force them to more strictly police their platforms and protect users’ personal information.
An agreement covering data transfers between the European Union and the United States, known as the Privacy Shield, was struck down in 2020 by Europe’s highest court, which concluded that it protected citizens from data protection by the US government. Not enough to protect against electronic probing. Monday’s ruling confirmed that another tool for regulating data transfers – a category of legal contracts – was also invalid.
Brussels and Washington signed an agreement last year on a new version of the privacy protocol that could be used by Meta, but the project is pending European authorities’ determination whether it adequately protects data privacy. does.
Community organizations are reviewing the deal and lawmakers from the bloc have called for a number of reforms this month, saying the safeguards are not strong enough.