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Facebook will move the data of 1.5 billion users to avoid EU’s new privacy law

By making a minor change in its terms and conditions of use, Facebook is moving the data of all users outside of the US, Canada and the European Union from its Ireland headquarters to its offices in California, effectively escaping the EU’s new privacy protection law.

This shift in responsibility comes despite Facebook’s promise to protect user data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The move will be completed before the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law goes into effect on May 25, and will affect users from Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America. That’s about 70% of all Facebook users.

Escape route

Under the EU’s new law, Facebook, or any company, becomes liable to fines of up to 4% of their global turnover in case of a data breach. For Facebook, that could amount to around US$1.6 billion.

In a statement to Reuters, Facebook downplayed the significance of the changes made to the terms and conditions, saying, “We apply the same privacy protections everywhere, regardless of whether your agreement is with Facebook Inc or Facebook Ireland.”

Yet, when questioned by the US Senate whether the social media giant would adhere to the GDPR, Mark Zuckerberg said yes but noncommittally referred to the GDPR “controls” as opposed to its “protections”.

Once the jurisdiction moves away from Ireland, Facebook will be governed by the more lenient laws of the US, giving the company some freedom on how it handles user data.

[Via Reuters]

Sharmishta Sarkar

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (yes, she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing cameras and lenses, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She also contributes to Digital Camera World and T3, and helps produce two of Future's photography print magazines in Australia.