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EU Record Fine – Secret Mass Surveillance: Meta Fined €1.2 Billion News

EU Record Fine – Secret Mass Surveillance: Meta Fined €1.2 Billion News

  • The Facebook Meta group has received a record €1.2 billion fine for violating the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • It is about Facebook’s involvement in mass surveillance by secret services.

The Irish Data Protection Authority has notified the DPC in Dublin of the penalty.

The case concerns Facebook’s involvement in mass surveillance by Anglo-American intelligence services, which was exposed ten years ago by American whistleblower Edward Snowden. At the time, Austrian data protection activist Max Schrems filed a complaint against Facebook.


Meta has not yet commented on the punishment.

Keystone/EPA/John G. Mapanglo

The fine imposed by the DPC dwarfs the previous record fine of €746 million for in Luxembourg. In addition, Meta shall cease any further transfer of European Personal Data to the United States as the Company remains subject to US surveillance laws.

Meta-Manager: “Incorrect and unwarranted”

Experts assume that the US group will appeal the decision. However, court proceedings can take years. By then, a new data agreement could enter into force between the EU and the USA, which would regulate data traffic across the Atlantic.

Meta’s senior directors, Nick Clegg (Head of Global Affairs) and Jennifer Newsted (Chief Legal Officer), called DPC’s decision “incorrect and unjustified” in an initial reaction. It sets a dangerous precedent for countless other companies that transfer data between the EU and the US. Meta had previously threatened to withdraw completely from the European Union if transatlantic data transfers were not permanently possible.

Sharmes explained that the fine imposed could have been much higher: “The maximum fine is more than four billion. Meta has knowingly violated the GDPR for ten years to make a profit.” Sherms explained that if US surveillance laws are not changed, Meta will probably have to fundamentally restructure its systems.

Years of struggle for jurisdiction

The Irish Data Protection Authority (DPC) has for years refused to take action against Facebook in the matter. In the end, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) obliged the DPC to fine the social network. The current decision only concerns Facebook, and not other meta group services like Instagram or WhatsApp. However, Meta has already been fined €390 million by DPC in January for forcing Facebook and Instagram users to agree to personalized ads.

So far, four billion euros in fines have been imposed with the new penalty on Meta since the GDPR came into force five years ago. Meta is now represented six times in the top ten fines list, and the total fines now stand at €2.5 billion. Fashion chain H&M had to pay Germany’s highest fine of €35 million in 2020 due to the insufficient legal basis for processing its online store’s data.