Meta Hit with Record Fine and Data Transfer Suspension by EU Privacy Regulator

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Meta Hit with Record Fine and Data Transfer Suspension by EU Privacy Regulator

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Meta [META:US], the parent company of Facebook [FB:US], has been hit with a historic EUR1.2bn (USD1.3bn) fine by the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) in Ireland, the leading privacy regulator in the European Union. The fine was imposed due to Meta’s mishandling of user data and its continued transfer of data to the United States, even after a 2020 EU court ruling invalidated an EU-U.S. data transfer agreement. This penalty surpasses the previous record fine of EUR746m given to Amazon [AMZN:US] by Luxembourg in 2021. Meta intends to appeal the ruling and the associated fine, considering it unjust and setting a problematic precedent. The company also plans to seek a court order to suspend the suspension orders. Meta reiterated its expectation that a new data transfer agreement, ensuring the secure movement of EU citizens’ personal data to the U.S., will be implemented before it is required to halt transfers. If this agreement is in place, Meta’s previous warning of potential service suspensions in Europe would not materialize. The company emphasized the importance of cross-border data transfers to prevent the fragmentation of the internet into national or regional segments.

The DPC stated that EU and U.S. officials anticipate finalizing a new data protection framework by July, but privacy campaigner Max Schrems expressed skepticism about its long-term viability. The European Court of Justice has previously invalidated two data transfer agreements due to concerns about U.S. surveillance. The DPC, as the primary EU regulator for many major technology companies with European headquarters in Ireland, has now fined Meta a total of EUR2.5bn for violations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) introduced in 2018.