Clash between Facebook and EU data protection agency in Spain

Yesterday it was announced that there had been a fresh clash between Facebook and the EU data protection agency in Spain. The Spanish data watchdog has fined facebook €1.2 million euros for collecting personal information from Facebook users that could then be used for advertising purposes.

This latest penalty imposed on Facebook in the EU is the result of an ongoing probe into personal data use at the social media giant by various EU data protection authorities. Similar investigations are also currently being carried out on Facebook in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands, according to the Spanish data watchdog (AEPD).

According to the Spanish regulator, there were many examples where Facebook collected personal details such as gender, religious beliefs, personal tastes and browsing history. According to the data protection authority, Facebook did not adequately inform its users about how this data collected could be used and did not obtain proper consent from the users.

A spokesperson for the Spanish data watchdog authority stated that Facebook’s privacy policy contains generic and unclear terms. The AEPD also claimed that it found evidence that the social network kept information for more than 17 months after users had closed their accounts. This time delay is in violation of data protection rules in Spain. 

Yesterday’s announcement is the latest in a series of interactions between Facebook and EU data regulators located throughout the trading block. This situation regarding data protection regulations and the social media giant will no doubt evolve rapidly in the coming months as the EU pushes forward with its deadline for compliance to the GDPR. The date for GDPR compliance is May 2018, and the new regulation is a much stricter regime that is currently in place in the EU concerning how individuals personal data can be stored and used for advertising purposes. Facebook has reported in recent weeks that a large multi disciplinary team has been assembled within the social networking company to deal with the impending GDPR deadline.