Facebook’s Trick To Bypass European Privacy Laws

Irish regulators reportedly worked with Facebook to develop new terms of service that circumvent the GDPR (European data protection law).

That’s the harsh accusation from nyob , the European Center for Digital Rights, an Austrian NGO focused on initiating GDPR-related lawsuits; But the one filed in Ireland against Facebook for violating these laws can end with a “fine joke” of up to € 36 million , a figure based on the company’s € 29 billion revenue in the second quarter alone.

The Irish data protection commission (DPC) draft also contains the reason why it has not decided to pursue higher fines: because it believes that Facebook is not violating the GDPR, simply because it considers that the company does not have the Obligation to ask the user for consent if he is offering him a contract.

Wait, a contract? Indeed, from May 25, 2018 at midnight, just when the GDPR came into force, the terms of service speak of a “contract” to use Facebook; a term that replaces the word “consent” in the same context. Without notifying anyone, Facebook changed the terms of use overnight just to change one word, and nyob believe they did so on the advice of Irish regulators, after a meeting between Facebook representatives and the DPC in 2018.

That is why the fine proposed by the DPC is not for violating the GDPR, but for “lack of transparency” about how it does it; otherwise, the commission expresses support for the company for the way in which it does not require the express consent of the user. And supposedly, it is because the DPC itself explained to Facebook how it could do it.

This is not the first time that Irish regulators have come under suspicion of helping Facebook, which for years had its European headquarters in Ireland. Last month they proposed a fine of 50 million euros for not explaining how WhatsApp shares data with Facebook , its owner; But when the draft reached the European Data Protection Committee, the fine shot up to 225 million euros, accompanied by an order for WhatsApp to change its terms of use. WhatsApp has confirmed that it will appeal the decision.

Now, the same can happen with this latest draft; nyob is hopeful that the rest of the European authorities will realize that this decision can teach the rest of the companies how to bypass the GDPR , turning the great European privacy law into little more than dead paper.

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