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The thing I’m wondering about is, umm, well, why?

Facebook faces the threat of being blocked across the European Union unless it radically overhauls how it handles data in Europe.

Irish regulators have provisionally ruled the social media site can no longer send European users’ data to the US, forcing it to either set up local data centres or stop operating until the issue is resolved.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has told Facebook its current set-up breaches GDPR rules, the EU laws governing how companies can use customer data. The decision is currently in draft status and Facebook now has four weeks to raise any protests.

This has all been going on for years of course and it’s always greatly puzzled me.

Why does anyone care? That’s something I’ve never really grapsed.

16 thoughts on “The thing I’m wondering about is, umm, well, why?”

  1. You could write a lengthy paper on this but it boils down to the EU not liking the US. Whenever people asked which law(s) from the EU were badly affecting you and you wanted to repeal GDPR was in the top five, alongside CAP, CFP, MIFID and REACH. We don’t appear to have in six years amended more than a handful of lines of any of them as yet….

  2. Where the data is physically stored is immaterial. What matters is where the entity in charge of the data is based. Even if the data was stored physically in Ireland, the data could have travelled around the world before it got stored.

  3. Facebook has EU data centres, one of which is in Ireland. This “demand” sounds like the EU asking for something it’s effectively already got. As I remember it, the EU data protection office is based in a small office in county Laois anyway 🙂

  4. If I were Zuckerberg, I’d simply shut down Facebook and Instagram in the EU for 24 hours, and see how the citizens react. Have a marketing campaign that says, “This is what your government wants. Tell them to fuck off.”

    Besides, advertisers had no problem costing the company billions of dollars with their nonsense month-long boycotts. Let them see how much they need Meta’s business.

    And then, maybe Zuckerberg can tell the EU to stop collecting their citizens’ data by force.

  5. Data localisation laws are becoming a huge global problem, as they make the development of any international system a costly nightmare. This is essentially protectionism in disguise, and will have a huge impact on society over time as many great ideas will simply become economically unviable given the technical and legal complexity required to get them off the ground. Good news for Accenture and pals though, so all’s well!

  6. The reason for this is that possession is 9/10th of the law. In the EU corporations face (almost) unlimited fines for breaking GDPR and executives could potentially have personal and civil liabilities. However if that dataset goes to China or the US then GDPR regulations are practically unenforceable. It could be alleged that Every 14 year girl who publishes on the Chinese owned Tiktok service now has a biometric profile and a potential stash of blackmail material on state security servers for when she is in a position of power.

  7. VP: “You could write a lengthy paper on this but it boils down to the EU not liking the US”. Make that ‘the bits of the world that isn’t the EU’.

    One comment I liked was from an ex US Ambassador “If I asked the EU to tell me the time they would say no”……

  8. It’s a transaction. For use of a free service, one sells data to Facebook. It is basic Contract 101, which is why the EU is against it and why I don’t use it. I am on IG, but try to be careful what I put on there and lie about my age.

    Government bodies stealing and using a citizen’s data is the real crime.

  9. Addolff

    100% Agree – of course in this specific example Facebook was a US domiciled company but you are (As ever) spot on. Their concern for ‘rights’ is parochial to the point of xenophobia.

  10. Why does anyone care? The lawyers who are making truckloads of money out of it care, that’s why.

  11. “If I were Zuckerberg, I’d simply shut down Facebook and Instagram in the EU for 24 hours, and see how the citizens react. Have a marketing campaign that says, “This is what your government wants. Tell them to fuck off.””

    They tried this in Australia over the last government’s news fee shakedown. Unfortunately it didn’t work

  12. @Matthew L

    Didn’t the proposed laws get amended as a result of the shutdown? That was what was said at the time but I never followed up to see the outcome

  13. “This “demand” sounds like the EU asking for something it’s effectively already got. “

    That would be a politician’s dream. See what I demanded and got (without having to actually do anything). Kind of like the rooster taking credit for sunrise.

  14. It’s all related to UN/WEF demand for Online Censorship laws

    Aus, Can, EU, NZ, US… all enacting laws similar to UK Online “Safety” Bill

  15. People care because there are laws which cover the collection and use of data, but they are completely ineffective if the data is allowed to leave the jurisdiction. Furthermore, the USA (and probably many other countries) has a very bad record regarding reasonable search and seizure of data, so cannot be trusted.

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