facebook, express Wi-Fi

Facebook’s tussle with European regulators seems to be never ending. Now, the social media giant has been found guilty of flouting the French privacy law on six different counts, reports Reuters.

The French data privacy watchdog, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), has cracked down on Facebook and found it guilty of tracking users on websites other than their own social platform without their knowledge. The treasure trove of collected data, including personal information, was then shared with advertisers to help them better target their campaigns.

This is in grave violation of the country’s user data protection laws, which has pushed the French watchdog to imposed a maximum fine of 150,000 euros (approx $166,000 or ₹1 crore) on the social media giant. It is applicable for both Facebook and its European subsidiary, Facebook Ireland and has been imposed by the state regulators of France. This fine may seen measly when compared to the social media’s recent quarterly revenue of 8.01 billion.

Talking about this decision in an official statement, a Facebook spokesperson said:

We take note of the CNIL’s decision with which we respectfully disagree. At Facebook, putting people in control of their privacy is at the heart of everything we do. Over recent years, we’ve simplified our policies further to help people understand how we use information to make Facebook better.

The questioning into the social media giant’s practices began when it made certain changes to its terms and conditions document back in January 2015. This resulted in firing from all directions, leading up to a wide-scale investigation being conducted into the company’s practices in other parts of Europe — Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, and Germany. It could be fined up to 50,000 euros for surfacing false (or misleading stories) in Germany.

After nearly a year worth of digging into Facebook’s documents and practices, coupled with visits to its local offices, the CNIL sent out a formal notice to the social media giant. It instructed them to fall in line and adhere to the French Data Protection Act, which prevented the sharing/transfer of user data of the populace outisde the country’s boundaries. Facebook was provided three whole months to comply to the laws and respond to the notice. But, it asked for an extension in deadline to submit their response.

The social media giant finally responses and claimed that the Irish data protection authority, not the CNIL had the power to  serve them such orders questioning the integrity of the operations of their local subsidiary. It argued that the European headquarter was located in Dublin, so one should be the better judge of their jurisdiction. The French watchdog wasn’t satisfied with this answer and has slapped them with the aforementioned massive fine.

Facebook has responded to this situation, but there is no information on what action does the social media giant plans to take next. It either has the option to beck down to the local privacy and data protection laws or give the watchdogs enough reason to impose a heftier fine onto the social media giant. Now, it is free to impose fines as high as 3 million euros, which could change to 4 percent of the tech giant’s global turnover as the new EU data protection law becomes applicable next year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.