Facebook's parent company Meta has been fined 1.2 billion euros for violating European Union data privacy laws under the bloc's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Politico reported on Monday. The tech giant has also been ordered to stop transferring data collected from Facebook users in Europe to the United States of America (USA).
GDPR was first implemented on May 25, 2018. The Irish Data Protection Commission, in its decision, said that the company was not sufficiently protecting the European data from Washington's data surveillance practices.
The decision imposed the highest fine on any company under GDPR since it was enforced. The ruling will not only apply to Facebook but to Instagram and WhatsApp also. The ruling, however, provides a grace period of at least five months for Meta to comply.
In the last two years, the Irish regulator has imposed fines against Meta's platforms ranging between 405 million euros and 225 million euros. A fine of 746 million euros was also imposed by Luxembourg recently.
The issue stems from the disagreement between the EU and the US on data sharing policy. In 2020, the European Court of Justice struck down a data flow agreement known as the Privacy Shield, over the fears of US intelligence services' surveillance practices.
However, the US and EU are in talks about a new data flow deal and it can be announced as soon as July or as late as October, as reported by Politico.
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In the absence of the new agreement, companies like Meta are using Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) to transfer data to the US. It had earlier warned that if they stop using SCCs, they might have to shut down Facebook and Instagram in Europe.
According to NYT, Meta said that it would appeal against the ruling.