Tech companies Google, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp have been hit with threats of huge fines only a few short days after new EU data laws came into effect.
Privacy-advocacy group Noyb.eu claims that companies such as Google and Facebook are demanding that users accept intrusive new terms of service in order to continue to use the platform following the new EU GDPR data laws taking effect, CNET reports. Austrian data privacy activist Max Schrems who runs Noyb.eu claimed that the choice was similar to a “North Korean election process,” saying: “Facebook has even blocked accounts of users who have not given consent. In the end users only had the choice to delete the account or hit the “agree”-button – that’s not a free choice, it more reminds of a North Korean election process.”
The privacy group is requesting that regulators in France, Belgium, Hamburg, and Austria fine Google, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp the maximum four percent of their annual revenue allowed under the new GDPR rules. This could see Google parent company Alphabet paying out approximately $4.88 billion with Facebook paying $1.63 billion for each of the services they own, which include Instagram and Whatsapp.
Google has claimed that they have taken necessary steps to comply with the new data regulation laws, stating in a blog post: “We build privacy and security into our products from the very earliest stages and are committed to complying with the EU General Data Protection Regulation.”
Similarly, Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said in a statement: “Over the last 18 months, we have taken steps to update our products, policies and processes to provide users with meaningful data transparency and control across all the services that we provide in the EU.”