Tech

Privacy watchdog under attack: “Where are the fines?”

Privacy activist Max Schrems complains in an open letter read by Bloomberg about the watchdog’s slow pace. Two years ago, Schrems filed a complaint against Google and Facebook, which he says violated European privacy rules.

The Irish Privacy Watchdog is the most influential regulator in Europe as many tech giants are based in Ireland. That is why it is precisely this body that has to investigate many complaints about the companies and determine whether fines should be issued.

A fine under that law can have serious consequences for tech companies: the regulator may demand compensation of up to four percent of the annual turnover for serious violations. Earlier, Google had to pay 50 million euros from the French watchdog.

10,000 complaints

The European privacy law has been active for two years, but according to Schrems, the Irish regulator does too little. “10,000 complaints have been filed without a single fine being issued. It is clear that Ireland cannot enforce this European law.”

The Irish watchdog is about to take action against privacy violations by Twitter. In addition, a new step would be taken in researching WhatsApp.

Secret Meetings

According to Schrems, that is insufficient. In addition, he accuses the privacy watchdog of secret collaborations with Facebook, which organized ten meetings before European privacy law came into effect. “In addition, the watchdog taught Facebook how to circumvent the law,” Schrems thinks.

A watchdog spokesman denies that there were any secret meetings with Facebook. “We do speak regularly with companies from all kinds of sectors. That is part of our regulatory tasks.”

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