Time and time again, Meta has shown contempt for notions of European Union (EU) data protections. The Facebook and Instagram owner has now drawn the EU's ire for a third time in 2023, potentially facing a record fine for failing to guarantee that EU user data transported to the US would be protected from inspection by authorities.
That's according to The Register, which also reported on Meta's second fine of 2023 (and January of that year) over breaches of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in WhatsApp.
Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC), which levied the previous fines against the company, is yet to make a decision, but Bloomberg (paywall), is reporting that anonymous sources it spoke to expect the ruling to eclipse Amazon's €746m ($888m) GDPR fine back in 2021.
Meta and EU data
Meta and the DPC are declining to comment, although the latter did confirm to The Register that a fine is being issued, and is waiting for Meta to redact details from the ruling before releasing it publicly. For its part, Meta expects the ruling to be formally announced this coming Monday (22nd May, 2023).
Meta, naturally, has a tendency to appeal the sanctions that it's racking up at an alarming rate and, previously, it may have justified its actions (and the fines) internally by planning for the hit to its revenue.
It can do this by being a gargantuan, established company that, barring the apocalypse, we'll basically never be free of. However, it may be less laissez-fare about the financial implications should the fine be as gargantuan as everyone seems to be expecting.
The pending decision is in the wake of the transatlantic Digital Privacy Framework, to replace a previous ruleset governing protections of EU data in the US, Privacy Shield.
Still, powerful critics such as EU Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the European Data Protection Board note that data can still be collected in bulk to suit the US' "national security objectives" - a pursuit as wretched as it is utterly terrifying.
- Here’s our list of the best data visualization tools right now