Meta, the parent company of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram has been issued a $1.3 billion fine and asked to suspend the transfer of user data from the European Union (EU) to the United States, by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC).
The DPC regulates Meta across the EU and the fine is a record for a breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Meta has since described the ruling as “unjustified and unnecessary” and vowed to appeal. The company has been given five months to implement the ruling or appeal.
However, experts say the ruling follows the use of standard contractual clauses (SCCs) to move data from Europe to the United States. The European Commission had outlined safeguards in the legal contracts to ensure the protection of personal data when transferred outside of the region.
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Max Schrems, an Austrian privacy campaigner blew the whistle Meta over citing concerns resulting from the Edward Snowden revelations that European users’ data is not sufficiently protected from US intelligence agencies when it is transferred across the Atlantic.
Nick Clegg, Facebook president said the company is disappointed to have been singled out when it was using the same legal mechanism as thousands of other companies looking to provide services in Europe.
“This decision is flawed, unjustified and sets a dangerous precedent for the countless other companies transferring data between the EU and the US,” Clegg said.