The American social media company Meta has been fined a record amount of 1.2 billion euros (almost 1.3 billion dollars) for violating European data protection regulations. The fine imposed by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) is the highest ever imposed in Europe for this type of offense. Meta plans to appeal the decision and argues that it is unjustified and unnecessary.
The company was found guilty of transferring the personal data of Facebook users from the European Economic Area to the United States, thereby breaching the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Meta’s European headquarters are located in Ireland, and the DPC acts on behalf of the European Union to oversee compliance with these regulations.
The DPC’s decision also requires Meta to suspend all transfers of personal data to the United States within five months and to comply with the GDPR within six months. Meta hopes that a new legal framework for the transfer of personal data between the United States and the European Union will be established in the coming months.
The fine has been regarded as a major blow to Meta and has sparked reactions in defense of privacy. The European association Noyb, which has filed lawsuits against major US tech giants in Europe, believes that the sanction could have been even higher. According to Noyb’s founder, Max Schrems, Meta has knowingly violated the law for ten years to generate profits. It is also highlighted that Meta has previously been fined for violations in the use of personal data in its Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp applications.
These sanctions come at a time when controls and legal proceedings against major tech companies, both in the European Union and in the United States, are increasing. The recent action taken against the Chinese giant TikTok is also mentioned. In 2021, Amazon was also fined for non-compliance with the GDPR in Luxembourg, demonstrating a stricter approach to data protection and privacy worldwide.
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