Privacy activists are taking aim at major tech companies they argue are noncompliant with Europe's new General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect today.
Nonprofit organization None of Your Business (NYOB), founded by Austrian Facebook litigant Max Schrems, has filed official data protection complaints against Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Schrems created NYOB to fight back against companies that break GDPR rules, which state companies can only process users' data with legal justification.
There are multiple justifications for processing users' data, including consent, the GDPR states. However, users can't be forced into submitting their data in order to use a service.
NYOB says Facebook and Google violate GDPR by compelling users to agree to their privacy policies. The regulation is intended to give users a choice about whether to share their data, but the sense of freedom is eliminated when sites prompt people with "consent boxes," which state a service can no longer be used if the visitor doesn't consent to their data being processed.
"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," said Schrems in a statement.
The primary Facebook complaint was filed in Austria; those for Instagram and WhatsApp were filed in Belgium and Germany, respectively. Another case against Google, which argues Android's consent requirements go against GDPR, has been filed in France.
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