Facebook fined 1.2 million euros for failing to secure its users' data

Spanish Data Watchdog Fines Facebook $1.2million

Spain's data protection watchdog fined Facebook €1.2 million ($1.4 million) Monday for allegedly violating the country's data protection laws by collecting users' personal information for advertising purposes without their consent, the latest in a series of privacy actions European countries have taken against the social media giant.

Specifically, the AEPD called out the way Facebook (fb) collects data on people's ideologies and religious beliefs, sex and personal tastes-from its own services and those of third parties-without clearly telling its users what it will do with this information.

AEPD's ruling focused on three central infringements of data protection law committed by Facebook-two of which were considered "serious" and one that was identified as "very serious" by the regulatory body. Last year, the Belgium Privacy Commission lost its effort to force Facebook to stop tracking non-users when an appeals court ruled it was acting outside its jurisdiction.

We take note of the DPA's decision with which we respectfully disagree.

Facebook users' activity can also be tracked on third-party sites, and the information collected added to what is already associated with a Facebook account, AEPD said.

However, other data protection agencies are continuing to push, with the French data protection authority fining Facebook its maximum allowable fine of €150,000 ($179,300) back in May for the same violations that the Spanish authorities are now claiming.

The fine is relatively small for Facebook, but is a reminder that national regulators in Europe are carefully scrutinizing the privacy practices of US online multinationals doing business there. "Therefore, the personal data of the users is not cancelled in full when it is no longer useful for the objective for which it was collected, nor when the user explicitly requests its removal".

The Spanish data protection agency accused Facebook of using generic and unclear terms in its privacy policy.

Facebook has more than 2 billion users worldwide.

The EU has also fined Facebook $122 million for providing "misleading" information to Brussels about its takeover of WhatsApp. According to the AGPD, while some of this data was declared for advertising, others uses are kept secret and not made clear by the company. "However, we do not use this information to target advertisements to people".

Facebook's stock is now up 1.49 percent at $173.49 per share. Zuckerberg must be quaking in his hoodie.

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