Facebook is used to dealing with more pressure from European privacy regulators than in the US. However, many of these countries have recently stepped up their inquiries into the company’s data practices, including the Netherlands, which this week found that Facebook illegally processed user data for targeted advertising.
According to the ruling, Facebook broke privacy law by gathering user data without their consent. It also failed to properly notify users that their data was being shared with third parties. The case claims that this is an unfair practice because it doesn’t give consumers the chance to make a well-informed decision, and as a result, the complainants will now seek financial compensation for millions of Dutch users.
“It’s a groundbreaking judgement that sends a very strong signal — not only to Facebook itself but also towards other tech companies violating privacy legislation. And it says violations do not go unpunished. So that’s a very strong message,” a spokesperson for the consumer protection nonprofit Consumentenbond said.
Of course, this fight is far from over, and Facebook is certain to appeal it every step of the way. However, this still represents a significant win for user privacy in Europe.
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