Google and Facebook accused of breaking GDPR laws

Facebook and Google at top of GDPR complaints list

A Google spokesperson said: "We build privacy and security into our products from the very earliest stages and are committed to complying with the EU General Data Protection Regulation".

So, as a new European Union law - billed as the biggest shake-up of data privacy regulations since the birth of the web - comes into force on Friday, May 25, Schrems might be forgiven for thinking his work is done.

Regulators can hit companies with fines around $23.5 million, and privacy activists are already lining big tech companies on the chopping block. In the online advertising industry, which Google dominates through various services, the company's interpretation has trickle-down effects for partners such as publishers and small advertising companies.

GDPR was ratified in 2016. The shutdowns came as a surprise to readers of the publications, because companies had two years to prepare for the new regulations.

What does the GDPR mandate?

Facebook GDPR Complaints
US news sites go dark in EU | Bangkok Post: tech

Organizations need to obtain active consent from individuals before collecting data in many circumstances and are obligated to report data security breaches to authorities within 72 hours. Twitter's also introduced a new "Your Twitter data" option in the settings menu that reveals how it targets you with different ads based on your interests. Some benefits would be: secured valuable information, more efficient operations with proper archiving and data management, and increased trust from customers and users. A clause in the regulation - the "right to be forgotten" - makes it mandatory for a company to delete all the data it is holding about a client, if she so demands.

Ahead of the law taking effect Friday, consumers also complained about a number of bureaucratic challenges, such as an influx of consent-seeking emails from companies trying to distribute their newsletters or doctors making their patients sign pages-long forms about how to store their data. Forcing people to accept sharing their information in exchange for using a service is not in compliance with the GDPR.

One the first day of GDPR noyb.eu has therefore filed four complaints against Google (Android), Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram over "forced consent". Confidentiality group noyb.eu controlled by innovative Max Schrems said individuals were not being offered a "free choice". Websites and apps must now inform European Union users before data collection, and they also must disclose how that data is being used. But many worldwide news portals, online-learning sites, gaming websites, and the like are rolling out the updated policies for non-EU users as well.

That means companies have had to put in place processes for dealing with such requests and educating their workforce because any non-compliance could lead to stiff sanctions. If such an argument is made in defence, the final verdict will provide clarity on whether or not the maintenance of a company's current profit margin can be regarded under the regulation as necessary for provision of the service.

And here is the paradox: The goal of GPDR is to "give citizens back the control of their personal data, whilst imposing strict rules on those hosting and "processing" this data, anywhere in the world".

Data laws made fit for the digital age
Other companies may have simply warned you that their terms have changed and that you don't need to do anything beyond that. Strong data protection rules are the basis for a functioning Digital Single Market and for the online economy to prosper.


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