Facebook Fined $1.44 million by Spanish Data Protection Agency
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Facebook has been fined $1.44 million by Spain’s data protection watchdog for failing to prevent its users’ data from being accessed by advertisers. On Monday, the Spanish data protection authority (AEPD) said it found three instances when Facebook collected personal data on its Spanish users without informing them of how it was to be used.

Facebook has been collecting people’s ideologies and religious beliefs, sex and personal interests and browsing habits, from its own services and those of third parties without telling its users what it will be used for. According to Mark Scott, Politico’s Chief Politics correspondent, the French, German, and Dutch governments are looking into how Facebook uses data pertaining to their citizens.

Facebook Privacy Violation

Image: Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2017

According to the investigation, Facebook has infringed citizens’ rights when it stores the details of deleted accounts for more than 17 months. The social media giant had breached laws in one instance, for which it was fined $710,000 (€600,000) and on further two occasions, incurring $350,000 (€300,000) fine.

Tougher Rules of Tech Giants

The Spanish data protection agency accused Facebook of using generic and unclear terms in its privacy policy. "Facebook's privacy policy contains generic and unclear terms," said the Spanish data protection authority. "The agency considers that Facebook does not adequately collect the consent of either its users or nonusers, which constitutes a serious infringement."

Facebook is already in trouble with other European privacy watchdogs. The latest crackdown follows coordination with agencies in several countries, including France, Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands.

In May, France’s data protection watchdog fined Facebook $170,000 (€150.000) for failing to prevent its users’ data being accessed by advertisers following a 24-month long investigation. The social media giant had also received a deadline to stop tracking its non-users’ web activity without their consent. In addition, it had ordered Facebook to stop transfers of personal data to the U.S.

Lately, European agencies have been trying to take on giants like Alphabet-owned Google, Microsoft and Facebook with tougher rules on the tracking of users under a revision to the ePrivacy Directive proposed by the European Commission.

The fine is insignificant compared with the company’s $27.6 billion revenue in 2016.

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