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Meta fined record 1.2 billion euros for illegal data transfers

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Ireland’s data protection police on Monday fined Facebook owner Meta €1.2 billion for “continuing to transfer personal data” from users in the European Economic Area ( EEA) to the United States, in violation of European rules. The fine is the heaviest ever imposed under European data law.

Meta was fined Monday, May 22, a record fine of 1.2 billion euros by the Irish regulator for violating European data protection rules (GDPR) with its social network Facebook.

Meta, which intends to appeal, is condemned for having “continued to transfer personal data” of users from the European Economic Area (EEA) to the United States in violation of European rules in the matter, indicated in its decision the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), which acts on behalf of the EU. Meta must also “suspend any transfer of personal data to the United States within five months” and must comply with the GDPR within six months, added the DPC.

This sanction, the highest imposed by a data protection regulator in Europe, the DPC told AFP, is the result of an investigation launched in 2020.

Meta calls the fine “unjustified and unnecessary” and will seek legal action to suspend it, the social media giant immediately reacted on Monday in a statement sent to AFP.

“Thousands of businesses and organizations rely on the ability to transfer data between the EU and the US” and “there is a fundamental rights conflict between US government rules on data access and European privacy rights,” continues the Californian giant.

Meta hopes to see the United States and the European Union adopt a new legal framework for the transfer of personal data during the summer, following an agreement in principle last year, which could allow it to continue to transfer Datas.

A “serious blow to Meta”

This is a “serious blow to Meta”, reacted in a press release the association for the defense of privacy Noyb, at the origin of numerous procedures against the American technological giants in Europe.

“Since Edward Snowden’s revelations of big US tech companies aiding the NSA’s (National Security Agency) mass surveillance apparatus, Facebook – now Meta – has come under fire. ‘a dispute in Ireland,’ the association continued.

The penalty “could have been much higher, given that the maximum fine is more than 4 billion and that Meta knowingly broke the law to generate profits for ten years”, underlines the founder of Noyb, the Austrian Max Schrems . “Unless US surveillance laws are fixed, Meta will have to fundamentally overhaul its systems,” he said.

This is the third fine imposed on Meta since the beginning of the year in the EU, and the fourth in six months.

In January, the DPC had sanctioned the group to pay nearly 400 million euros for offenses on the use of personal data for advertising purposes targeting its Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp applications, then in March, to 5.5 million euros for violating the GDPR with his WhatsApp message.

Since then, Meta has committed to changing its terms of use in Europe to be able to continue to collect and process the personal data of its European users.

These sanctions come in a context of strengthening controls and judicial procedures in the European Union, but also in the United States, against Gafa (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple), and the measures recently taken against the Chinese giant TikTok.

In 2021, Amazon had in particular been fined 746 million euros in Luxembourg for non-compliance with the GDPR.

With AFP

France 24-Trans

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