Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Complaints vs Google, Facebook under new European Union law

The launch day of wide-reaching new data laws implemented GDPR Day New European Union Rules Leave Readers Unable to Access Dozens of U.S. Newspapers Online 25 May 2018
Elsie Buchanan | 26 May, 2018, 01:34

Facebook, for instance, has been guiding European consumers through a series of policy updates about the type of data it collects in user profiles, how it can use data collected from outside websites, and its facial recognition services. "A lot of these companies now force you to consent to the new privacy policy, which is totally against the law".

The companies are accused of forcing users to consent to targeted advertising to use the services. Some are obvious, such as to fulfill contractual obligations - for instance, when an insurer pays out a claim. But others are from newsletters you probably don't remember signing up for.

Three years ago, ahead of Schrems' pivotal court battles with Facebook and before most people even knew what GDPR was, we caught up with Schrems during a visit to Dublin.

There's also a somewhat vague category called "legitimate interests".

Companies must also give users the right to easily access their data, correct it if necessary, and even delete all of it - otherwise known as the right to be forgotten. "In the US, the business model is pretty much, companies can do what they want, so long as there isn't a specific law prohibiting it". Firms have to clarify how long they retain data.

"Europe's new data protection rules will be a reality tomorrow", said Andrus Ansip, VP for the Digital Single Market in a statement.

Trump pardons boxer Jack Johnson, first black heavyweight champ
Henry Ossian Flipper, the first black West Point graduate who years later was convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer. The Texas native fled the country after his conviction, but later returned to serve a ten-month jail sentence.


Some American news publishers are struggling with Europe's new stringent privacy rules. An organization can be fined up to €20 million or 4% of their worldwide annual turnover (whichever is greater) under the laws. That's an incentive for companies to take these rules seriously.

Companies that did send out emails asking for renewed consent might find themselves in a tricky situation now, said Aaron Tantleff, privacy lawyer at Foley & Lardner.

There's still an open question on whether companies will notify US customers of any breaches, Lewis says. Ailidh Callander of the London-based group Privacy International says many questions will be tested in courts and further rulemaking.

"Retailers must also be prepared to lose a sizable proportion of their customer database as subscribers ignore communications to opt in to receiving marketing messages or choose to take the opportunity to opt out in order to declutter their inbox", she said. Speaking to TOI, EY partner (information security) Jaspreet Singh said that it is a popular misconception that the GDPR will impact only information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services (ITeS) companies. It is likely to have a trickle-down effect on big companies, at least. His lawsuit eventually brought down the Safe Harbor agreement and he's now in another lawsuit that may end up invalidating the new Privacy Shield and other loopholes American companies have found to avoid properly complying with European Union data protection laws.

Max Schrems, a veteran of legal fights against Facebook and chair of the privacy group, said this amounts to "forced consent", prohibited by the EU's General Data Protection Regulation. So it's important that our right to privacy under the Human Rights Convention and the more specific fundamental right to protection of our personal data (under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights) can be upheld in practice.

But segmenting European Union customers from the rest of the world isn't easy, especially for smaller companies without Facebook's or Google's technical prowess.

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