Meta slapped with a record $1.3 billion EU satisfaction over data privacy.

Meta slapped with a record $1.3 billion EU satisfaction over data privacy.

 

European Union regulators have fined Meta a record-breaking €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) for transferring the personal data of Facebook’s EU users to servers in the United States.

The European Data Protection Board announced the fine on Monday, saying it followed an inquiry into Facebook  (FB) by the Irish Data Protection Commission, the chief regulator overseeing Meta’s operations in Europe.

The fine is the largest ever levied under Europe’s signature data privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. The previous record of €746 million ($805.7 million) was levied against Amazon  (AMZN) in 2021.

Meta has also been ordered to cease the processing of personal data of European users in the United States within six months.

Meta’s infringement is “grave since it concerns systematic, repetitive, and continuous transfers,” said Andrea Jelinek, chair of the European Data Protection Board.

“Facebook has millions of users in Europe, so the volume of personal data transferred is massive. Therefore, the unprecedented fine is a strong signal to organizations that serious infringements have far-reaching consequences,” she added.

 

 Facebook still available in Europe

Meta, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, said it would appeal the ruling, including the fine. However, it added that there would be no immediate disruption to Facebook in Europe.

The company said the root of the issue stemmed from a “conflict of law” between US rules on access to data and the privacy rights of Europeans. However, EU and US policymakers were on a “clear path” to resolving this conflict under a new transatlantic Data Privacy Framework.

The new framework seeks to end the limbo facing companies since 2020 when Europe’s top court struck down the Privacy Shield agreement between the European Union and the United States, which about 5,000 companies relied on for transferring information across borders.

Irish regulator fines Meta $275 million for violations of Europe’s data privacy law

The European Data Protection Board “chose to disregard the clear progress that policymakers are making to resolve this underlying issue,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, and Jennifer Newstead, the company’s chief legal officer, said in a statement.

“This decision is flawed, unjustified and sets a dangerous precedent for the countless other companies transferring data between the EU and the US,” they added.

“The ability to transfer data across borders is fundamental to how the global open internet works. Thousands of businesses and other organizations rely on the ability to transfer data between the EU and the US to operate and provide services that people use every day.”

Ireland and Big Tech

 

 Before Monday’s ruling, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission had handed Meta nearly $1 billion in fines for alleged violations of GDPR since the fall of 2021. But in this instance, it was not in favor of fining Meta, judging that doing so exceeded what could be regarded as “proportionate” to address the infringement.

In its statement Monday, the regulator said it was obliged to base its final ruling on the decision of the European Data Protection Board.

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