Facebook owner Meta breaks privacy rules, Norway regulator tells court

A smartphone with Meta logo is seen in front of displayed Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta in this illustration

A smartphone with Meta logo is seen in front of displayed Facebook’s new rebrand logo Meta in this illustration taken, October 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

OSLO, Aug 23 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms (META.O) is breaking European data privacy rules in Norway, the country’s data regulator told a court on Wednesday, in a case that could have wider European implications.

Meta has been fined one million crowns ($94,145) per day since Aug. 14 for breaching users’ privacy by harvesting user data and using it to target advertising at them.

So-called behavioural advertising is a business model common to Big Tech.

The owner of Facebook and Instagram is seeking a temporary injunction against the order, which imposes a daily fine for the next three months.

The fine is valid as Meta is not respecting European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), said Hanne Inger Bjurstroem Jahren, a lawyer representing the regulator, Datatilsynet.

“There is no discussion on whether the company is in violation of these rules … Today Meta breaks GDPR rules,” she told the court, speaking on the last day of a two-day hearing.

Meta told the court on Tuesday it had already committed to ask for consent from users and that Datatilsynet used an “expedited process” that was unnecessary and did not give the company enough time to answer.

The regulator has said that it was unclear when, and how, Meta would seek consent from users and that, in the meantime, users’ rights were being violated.

Datatilsynet could make the fine permanent by referring its decision to the European Data Protection Board, which has the power to do so, if it agrees with the Norwegian regulator’s decision.

That could also widen the decision’s territorial scope to the rest of Europe. Datatilsynet had yet to take this step.

Norway is not a member of the European Union but is part of the European single market.

($1 = 10.6219 Norwegian crowns)

Reporting by Gwladys Fouche
Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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Oversees news coverage from Norway for Reuters and loves flying to Svalbard in the Arctic, oil platforms in the North Sea, and guessing who is going to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Born in France and with Reuters since 2010, she has worked for The Guardian, Agence France-Presse and Al Jazeera English, among others, and speaks four languages.

source: reuters.com