The European Union fined Meta $1.3 billion for privacy violations and ordered it to stop transferring user data across the Atlantic by October, a decades-long case sparked by US fears of cyberespionage.
The fine is the biggest since the EU’s stricter data privacy regime came into force five years ago, and exceeds the €746 million fine imposed on Amazon in 2021 for data protection breaches.
Meta, which previously warned that services could be disrupted for its users in Europe, appealed and asked the courts to immediately suspend the decision.
“There is no immediate disruption to Facebook in Europe,” the company said.
“This decision is wrong, unjust and sets a dangerous precedent for the countless companies that transfer data between the EU and the US,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s President of Global Affairs, and Jennifer Newsted, Chief Legal Officer, said in a statement. “
It is another twist in a legal battle that began in 2013, when Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems sued Facebook over its handling of data following revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden on electronic surveillance by US security agencies. Complaint was lodged in This included the revelation that Facebook gave agencies access to the personal data of Europeans.
The saga has highlighted differences between Washington and Brussels over Europe’s stricter view of data privacy and the comparatively lax regime in the US, which lacks a federal privacy law. The European Union has been a world leader in curbing the power of big tech with a series of regulations that force them to more strictly monitor their platforms and protect users’ personal information.
The data transfer agreement between the EU and the US, known as the Privacy Shield, was struck down in 2020 by the EU Supreme Court, which held that it did not sufficiently protect residents from electronic interception by the US government. does. Monday’s ruling confirmed that another tool for regulating data transfers – legal share contracts – was also invalid.
Brussels and Washington signed an agreement last year on a revised privacy shield that can be used by Meta, but the agreement awaits a decision by European authorities on whether it adequately protects data privacy.
EU institutions are reviewing the deal, and this month lawmakers in the bloc called for reforms saying the safeguards are not strong enough.