Facebook and Google already in violation of GDPR, alleges complaint
Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came to life yesterday, and a couple of US tech giants are already being accused of breaking the law.
Non-profit noyb.eu has filed a complaint against Google, Facebook, as well as WhatsApp and Instragram, accusing them of engaging in "forced consent", which is basically a 'take it or leave it' approach where-in users are barred from using a service completely if they do not agree to the terms set by the company.
Here's an excerpt from the complaint:
Facebook has even blocked accounts of users who have not given consent. In the end users only had the choice to delete the account or hit the “agree” - button – that’s not a free choice, it more reminds of a North Korean election process
The basis of the complaint is an article under the GDPR law that says companies cannot bundle a service with requirement to consent. "Consequently, access to services can no longer depend on whether a user gives consent to the use of data," the complaint says.
However, the complaint does acknowledge the fact that doing away with forced consent doesn't mean companies can no longer use customer data - GDPR allows data collection that's absolutely necessary for the service, just that data collected solely for advertisement or other commercial purposes needs users' explicit consent.
Of course, it's not an open and shut case, so it will be interesting to see how the matter shapes up. If found guilty, the combined fine these companies may have to pay could be to the tune of $7 billion.
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