Norway fines Facebook owner Meta over privacy breaches

Norway fines Facebook owner Meta over privacy breaches
The logo of Meta Platforms' business group is seen in Brussels, Belgium Dec 6, 2022.
PHOTO: Reuters file

OSLO — Facebook owner Meta Platforms will be fined 1 million crowns (S$132,378) per day over privacy breaches from Aug 14, Norway's data protection authority told Reuters on Monday (Aug 7), a decision that could have wider European implications.

The regulator, Datatilsynet, had said on July 17 that the company would be fined if it did not address privacy breaches the regulator had identified.

Meta Platforms did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Datatilsynet had said Meta cannot harvest user data in Norway, such as users' physical locations, and use it to target advertising at them, called behavioural advertising, a business model common to Big Tech.

It had until Aug 4 to prove to the regulator that it had addressed the issue.

"As of next Monday, a daily fine of one million crown will start to apply," Tobias Judin, head of Datatilsynet's international section told Reuters.

The fine will run until Nov 3. Datatilsynet can make it permanent by referring its decision to the European Data Protection Board, which has the power to do so, if it agrees with the Norwegian regulator's decision.

That could also widen the decision's territorial scope to the rest of Europe. Datatilsynet had yet to take this step.

Meta last week said it intends to ask users in the European Union for their consent before allowing businesses to target advertising based on what they view on its services such as Facebook and Instagram.

Judin said that step was not enough. Meta had to stop the processing of personal data immediately, and until that consent mechanism was up and running.

"According to Meta, this will take several months, at the very earliest, for them to implement... And we don't know what the consent mechanism will look like," Judin said.

"And in the (meantime), peoples' rights are being violated, every single day."

Meta said the change was made to address regulatory requirements in the region and stems from an order in January by Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner, Meta's lead EU regulator, to reassess the legal basis on how it targets ads.

Norway is not a member of the European Union but is part of the European single market.

ALSO READ: Meta starts blocking news in Canada over law on paying publishers

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.