Google And Facebook Sued For US$ 8.8 Billion For Coercing Users Into Sharing Their Personal Data

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Google And Facebook Sued For US$ 8.8 Billion For Coercing Users Into Sharing Their Personal Data

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In the past couple of day, you must have bee bombarded by every app notifying you of the change in their privacy policy. From Twitter, Facebook to Splitwise, every app has sent a notification to their users about the changes and these changes can have huge ramifications. Facebook and Google, for example, have been hit with lawsuits worth US$ 8.8 billion for coercing users into sharing personal data. The lawsuits were filed by Austrian privacy rights activist Max Schrems.

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For context, GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation is a rule passed by the European Union in 2016, resetting guidelines and rules for how companies manage and share a user’s personal data. While the rule applies to EU nations only, the internet’s global nature means that companies had to reset their policies in general. Hence, everyone received notifications about the privacy policies.

It is worth noting that Google and Facebook have rolled out the new policies since GDPR was enforced. Schrems believes, however, that those policies don’t go far enough. He has singled out the way Google and Facebook obtain consent for the privacy policies, asking users to check a box in order to access services. This is a very common practice of almost every internet service, but, the lawsuit argues that this method forces users into an all-or-nothing choice. That is a clear violation of the GDPR’s guidelines around particularised consent.

Both Google and Facebook have argued that the measures taken comply with the GDPR guidelines. In a statement, Google said:

We build privacy and security into our products from the very earliest stages, and are committed to complying with the EU GDPR.

Must Read: Android 9 P: Google I/O 2018 New Features

Facebook has said that, “We have prepared for the past 18 months to ensure we meet the requirements of the GDPR.” This is not the first lawsuit Google is facing for violating the privacy of users. The company was recently sued for GBP 3.2 billion for secretly collecting browsing data of iPhone users in 2011 and 2012.

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Vipul Vij
Always found in a Hooded Shell, Excited by technology, tortured by his eating habits. Handles content at iGyaan.