Finally a complaint against Facebook w.r.t. the GDPR has been judged by the Irish Data Protection Authority. This after the EDPB instructed the Irish DPA to do so in a binding decision (PDF) in April. The Irish DPA has been extremely slow in cases against big tech companies, to the point where they became co-opted by Facebook in trying to convince the other European DPA’s to fundamentally undermine the GDPR. The fine is still mild compared to what was possible, but still the largest in the GDPR’s history at 1.2 billion Euro. Facebook is also instructed to bring their operations in line with the GDPR, e.g. by ensuring data from EU based users is only stored and processed in the EU. This as there is no current way of ensuring GDPR compliance if any data gets transferred to the USA in the absence of an adequacy agreement between the EU and the US government.
A predictable response by FB is a threat to withdraw from the EU market. This would be welcome imo in cleaning up public discourse and battling disinformation, but is very unlikely to happen. The EU is Meta’s biggest market after their home market the US. I’d rather see FB finally realise that their current adtech models are not possible under the GDPR and find a way of using the GDPR like it is meant to: a quality assurance tool, under which you can do almost anything, provided you arrange what needs to be arranged up front and during your business operation.
This fine … was imposed for Meta’s transfers of personal data to the U.S. on the basis of standard contractual clauses (SCCs) since 16 July 2020. Furthermore, Meta has been ordered to bring its data transfers into compliance with the GDPR.
Staatssecretaris van Digitalisering Alexandra van Huffelen bereidt nu mogelijk een besluit voor langs dezelfde lijnen. Terecht lijkt me. Meta houdt zich zelf niet aan de AVG, en bovendien is de algemene uitwisseling van Europese persoonsgegevens met de VS geheel niet juridisch gedekt op dit moment.
De overheid moet zelf het goede voorbeeld geven bij online interactie met burgers en de omgang met eigen gegevens. Dit geldt voor Meta, voor Twitter, maar ook voor cloud diensten en de Microsoft lock-in waar de overheid zich grotendeels in bevindt. Facebook zelf niet meer gebruiken is een bescheiden eerste signaal, dat al verrassend lastig lijkt voor de overheid om helder af te geven.
Ik hoop dat de staatssecretaris de knoop snel doorhakt.
Ein datenschutzkonformer Betrieb einer Facebook-Fanpage sei nicht möglich, schrieb Kelber in einem Brief an alle Bundesministerien und obersten Bundesbehörden.
This is quite something to read. The Irish data protection authority is where most GDPR complaints against US tech companies like Facebook end up, because the European activities of these companies are registered there. It has been quite clear in the past few years how enormously slow the Irish DPA has been in dealing with those complaints. Up to the point where the other DPA’s complained about it, and up to the point where the European DPA intervened in setting higher fine levels than the Irish DPA suggested when a decision finally was made. Now noyb publishes documents they obtained, that show how the Irish DPA tried to get the other national DPA’s to accept a general guideline they worked out with Facebook in advance. It would allow Facebook to contractually do away with informed consent by adding boiler plate consent to their TOS. This has been the FB defense until now, that there’s a contract between user and FB, which makes consent unnecessary. I’ve seen this elsewhere w.r.t. to transparency and open data in the past as well, where government entities tried to prevent transparency contractually. Contractually circumventing and doing away with general legal requirements isn’t admissable however, yet that is precisely what the Irish DPA attempted to make possible here through a EU DPA Guideline.
Reading this, the noticeable lack of progress by the Irish DPA seems not to be because of limited resources (as has been an issue in other MS), but because it has been actively working to undermine the intent and impact of the GDPR itself. Their response to realising that adtech is not workable under the GDPR seems to be to sabotage the GDPR.
The Irish DPA failed to get other DPA’s to accept a contractual consent bypass, and that is the right and expected outcome. That leaves us with what this says about the Irish DPA, that they attempted it in the first place, to replace their role as regulator with that of lobbyist:
True, Open Corporates does not seem to hold US companies from Chicago/Illinois, where this one says to originate. Searching for the Meta company name in Chicago does surface a local fintech company that had an angel investment round last year. They used a different domain, metacash.io (now for sale), and name a different founder. There is a Nick Stulic, who coded in python some years back it seems. The domain meta.company was registered in 2014.
But there is nothing about what the company actually does in the letter, nor is there anything but that letter on its website. The named legal offices exist but don’t pertain to the company, but to the suggested FB actions.
The ‘open letter’ precisely boosts a notion about FB that seems to fit perfectly, and that many will want to believe. But I’ll put this one in the stack marked fake.
Seeing that 2007 posting in my ‘on this blog today in…’ widget I was curious to see whatever happened to Open Social. After the launch in 2007, I don’t remember hearing much about it anymore.
Following the link to Google’s own page on Open Social now gets a 404 error message (which isn’t different from 2007 when I blogged it, because news leaked before the launch, so that page wasn’t active yet. In between today and today in 2007 it has been a working link for some years though as the Internet Archive can attest) Wikipedia has the story of the years in between in more detail. The Open Social standard saw it latest release in August 2013, and then development stopped.
Yet, the still remaining W3C Working Group page has a photo with a number of familiar faces: core members of the IndieWeb community. And the Working Group delivered in their 2014-2018 period of activity the W3C standard recommendations for all the major building blocks of the IndieWeb (Webmentions, Micropub, Microsub, Activitypub, IndieAuth). The W3C activity wound down and reduced to a single W3C IRC channel #social that sees little activity. The log files of #social are hosted on indieweb.org.
So here we are, thirteen years down the road. It’s not Google but IndieWeb-enabled websites like mine ‘ganging up on Facebook’ instead. 😉
Never issue a threat you’re not really willing to follow up on… FB says it might stop servicing EU citizens because it isn’t allowed to transfer their data to US servers over data protection concerns. To me it would seem good news if the FB data-kraken would withdraw its tentacles. It is also an open admission that they can’t provide their service if it is not tied to adtech and the rage-fed algorithmic timeline built on detailed data collection. Call it, I’d say.
Facebook has warned that it may pull out of Europe if the Irish data protection commissioner enforces a ban on sharing data with the US, after a landmark ruling by the European court of justice found in July that there were insufficient safeguards against snooping by US intelligence agencies.