The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has proposed fining Facebook €36 million euro in one of more than a dozen probes into the company. This is according to a draft decision published on Wednesday. Under European Union 2018 data protection rules, the preliminary ruling must now be shared with other EU supervisory authorities and consider their views too. If no disagreements are raised by those authorities, then a final verdict will be made and presented to Facebook.
As per the report from Reuters, the DPC has proposed fining the company between €28 and €36 million euro. The reason for the fine is that Facebook failed to provide sufficient information, and the draft ruling criticized the company in particular for its lack of transparency and described the infringements as serious in nature.
The complaint was lodged by an Austrian lawyer and privacy activist, Max Schrems, who was concerned about the lawfulness of Facebook’s processing of personal data, specifically around its terms of service. Schrems criticized the findings, saying it was as if the DPC was greenlighting Facebook’s bypassing of the EU’s GDPR privacy rules by moving consent clauses relating to areas such as advertisement and online tracking into its terms and conditions. Schrems has published the draft decision through his digital rights group, NOYB.
The Irish DPC recently fined WhatsApp €225 million over privacy concerns, though that value was decided upon after deliberations with other EU supervisory authorities. In fining WhatsApp, the DPC’s draft decision on the investigation received objections from eight Concerned Supervisory Authorities (CSAs).
At the time, a report from the BBC revealed that the CSAs had expressed their disagreement with the Irish regulator regarding which articles of the GDPR WhatsApp had broken and the manner in which the regulator calculated the proposed fine of €30-50 million. It was then significantly increased to €225 million. As a result, €36 million may not be what Facebook gets fined, and in fact, there’s potential for the value to be significantly higher.