Things aren’t looking up for Google, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the new EU law on data protection and privacy, came into effect on May 25.
The GDPR allows citizens to have greater control over their personal data. Its aim is to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by ensuring a common regulation over the EU.
Complaints were shortly filed about “forced consent” by noyb.eu, a newly founded Austria-based privacy-advocacy group. In a statement, noyb.eu shared, “The GDPR explicitly allows any data processing that is strictly necessary for the service – but using the data additionally for advertisement or to sell it on needs the users’ free opt-in consent.”
The Irish Times reported that the complaints which were filed are worth € 3.9 billion and were filed against Facebook and its two subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram via data regulators in Austria, Belgium, and Hamburg. Another complaint worth € 3.7 billion was also filed against Google’s Android operating system for smartphones with the French data protection authority.
Privacy advocate Max Schrems said on the matter, “Many users do not know yet that this annoying way of pushing people to consent is actually forbidden under GDPR in most cases.”
According to noyb.eu, the complaints will put an end to the annoying pop-ups. The fight against forced content is important as it will help small and local companies, which don’t force customers to agree to policies, compete with the big tech giants of the world.
The Verge reported that the companies have disputed the charges, and in a statement, Google said, “We build privacy and security into our products from the very earliest stages and are committed to complying with the EU GDPR.”
In its defence, Facebook also stated, “We have prepared for the past 18 months to ensure we meet the requirements of the GDPR.”
The tug-of-war between the internet giants and the EU is likely to continue, and in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica data breach, the world has definitely become more sensitive towards the privacy and data policies of its companies.