Meta fined $1.3B for sharing European data with US
The European Union fined Meta a record $1.3 billion today and ordered it to stop transferring user data across the Atlantic by October, the Associated Press reports. Meta, which had previously warned that services for its users in Europe could be cut off, vowed to appeal and ask courts to immediately put the decision on hold.
It’s another twist in a legal battle that began in 2013 when Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems filed a complaint about Facebook’s handling of his data following former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations of electronic surveillance by U.S. security agencies. That included the disclosure that Facebook gave the agencies access to the personal data of Europeans.
The Ireland’s Data Protection Commission handed down the fine as Meta’s lead privacy regulator in the 27-nation bloc because the Silicon Valley tech giant’s European headquarters is based in Dublin.
The Irish watchdog said it gave Meta five months to stop sending European user data to the U.S. and six months to bring its data operations into compliance.
Meta warned in its latest earnings report that without a legal basis for data transfers, it will be forced to stop offering its products and services in Europe.
Meta has a fleet of 21 data centers, according to its website, but 17 of them are in the United States. Three others are in the European nations of Denmark, Ireland, and Sweden. Another is in Singapore.