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Digital giants, data and European authorities

US tech giants are back in Europe’s spotlight, reports the Financial Times. Facebook and Google are both in the headlines over sanctions from European authorities, with Google kicking off its fight against a €2.4bn EU fine for abusing its market dominant position by lodging a formal appeal at Luxembourg’s general court, and Facebook has been slapped with a €1.2m fine from Spanish authorities for alleged breach of the country’s data protection laws.

“In three cases, Madrid’s data protection authority found Facebook had collected the personal details of millions of its Spanish users – including their religious beliefs and browsing history – and used them without consent.” Facebook has said it will appeal the fine and denies harvesting personal information of its users without their knowledge.

In both cases, the financial penalties represent a small percentage of each tech giants’ revenues. “But the rulings are part of a litany of legal and regulatory battles the companies are facing in Europe. With data the lifeblood of the digital economy and personal information underpinning the business model of online advertisers, EU authorities are searching for ways to balance the free flow of information with concerns over personal privacy.

Coupled with a French-led crackdown on how big tech is taxed and a German drive to stamp out hate speech and fake news, the world’s digital giants are having to get used to a fast-changing regulatory environment.”

  • Tuesday, 19 September 2017

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