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Meta hit with $1.3 Billion record Fine by EU for Data Privacy

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The European Union slapped Meta with an unprecedented $1.3 billion fine for privacy on Monday and demanded that it stop transferring the personal information of its users across the Atlantic in October. This is the latest blow in the long-running case that was sparked by U.S. cyber snooping fears.

Since the strict data privacy regulations of the EU went into force five years ago, the punishment of 1.2 million euros was the highest. This is higher than Amazon's $746 million euros penalty in 2021 over data protection breaches.

Meta The business, which has previously expressed concern that it would lose access to its European consumers, has vowed to appeal and ask judges to render their ruling as soon as possible.

Facebook has stated that "there are no imminent interruptions for Facebook for Europe." This decision is applicable to data of users such as names, email addresses, and IP addresses, as well as messages and view history, geolocation information, and other data that Meta and other tech giants such as Google employ to deliver specific online ads.

According to Jennifer Newstead, president of global affairs and senior attorney at Nick Clegg Meta, "This decision is a mistake in its reasoning, is unjustified, and unintentionally creates a precedent for numerous other companies that transfer data between the EU and the USA"

It's a new twist in a court dispute that started in 2013 when Austrian lawyer and activist for privacy Max Schrems filed a complaint concerning Facebook's handling of his personal data in the wake of the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden's revelations of electronic surveillance conducted by U.S. security agencies. The revelations included that Facebook allowed security agencies access to the personal information of Europeans.

The scandal has brought to light the tensions between Washington as well as Brussels regarding the differences between Europe's rigorous policy on data privacy versus the relatively loose regulations of the U.S., which lacks a federal privacy law. With a set of regulations requiring them to more closely control their platforms and protect the privacy of their users' data, the EU has been a global pioneer in curtailing the dominance that is Big Tech.

An agreement that governs EU-U.S. data transfer known by the name of Privacy Shield, was ruled invalid at the end of the 2020 year in the European Union's highest court, which ruled that it wasn't enough to shield citizens against the U.S. government's electronic prying. The court's ruling on Monday confirmed that a different method to regulate the transfer of data - legal stock contracts also was invalid.

Brussels as well as Washington signed a deal in the year 2000 on the reformed Privacy Shield, which Meta could utilize, but the pact awaits an answer from European officials regarding how well it will protect privacy of data.

EU institutions have been examining the agreement and the EU's lawmakers have demanded improvements, claiming the security provisions aren't sufficient.

Dublin's Data Protection Commission handed down the fine as Meta's leading privacy regulator within the bloc of 27 nations because the Silicon Valley tech giant's European headquarters is located in Dublin.

The Irish watchdog said it granted Meta the time to cease transmitting European user's data to U.S. users. U.S. as well as six months for bringing its data processing operations in line with the law "by ending the illegal processing, and even storage within the U.S." of European users' personal information transfer in violation of Privacy rules of the bloc.

If the transatlantic privacy agreement is implemented before these deadlines, "our services can continue exactly as they are today, without interruption or impact on our users," Meta said.

Schrems declared that Meta is "no likely chance" of getting the ruling in any way overturned. A new privacy pact may not be the end of the problems for Meta, as there's a chance that it'll be rejected by the top court of the EU according to him.

"Meta intends to use the new arrangement to transfer data in the future but this is probably not a permanent solution," Schrems said in an announcement. "Unless U.S. surveillance laws are changed, Meta will likely have to maintain EU information in Europe. EU."

Meta was warned in its most recent earnings report that, without an appropriate legal framework for data transfer it could be forced to discontinue offering its services and products across Europe, "which would have a materially negative impact on the financial health of our company and the operational performance."

The company that runs social media may need to undertake a complex and costly overhaul of its processes if ordered to stop transferring information about users through the Atlantic. According to its website, Meta has a fleet of 21 data centers, but most of them are situated in the United States. Three more are situated in the European countries comprising Denmark, Ireland, and Sweden. The third is in Singapore.

Other giants of social media are being scrutinized for their privacy practices. TikTok has attempted to calm Western concerns about the Chinese-owned video-sharing application's possible security risks by launching the announcement of a $1.5 billion plan to keep U.S. user data on Oracle servers.

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