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The European Privacy Laws And Facebook: Facebook, Still On The Fence Concerning Data Sharing

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Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg admitted on Tuesday that he was in total agreement with the European privacy laws but that every time he came close to abiding by the rules, he failed.

The tech company is currently under pressure to improve privacy to prevent the scandal which is negatively affected it in the stock market. About 50 million users’ data was harvested and was used during the 2016 elections by Cambridge Analytica.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook last month accused Facebook of monetising customers. Tim Cook argued that a third party should not have access to customers’ private information and neither should they have the ability to know what a user has been browsing for years, their likes and every other detail. He proposed further that Facebook is guilty of privacy invasion. Referencing Apple, he said, “We could make a tonne of money if we monetised our customer if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that; privacy to us is a human right.”

This did not go down well with Mark Zuckerberg who responded that Cook’s comment of getting something for free amounted to the saga was “extremely glib.”

In a phone interview with Reuters, Mark Zuckerberg did not give a detail of his plans to adhere entirely to the European privacy laws. He said he was working on a version of the law that would work globally, meaning that there are some laws which would not be extended globally. “We’re still nailing down details on this, but it should directionally be, in spirit, the whole thing.”

His comment could be a strong indication that things will likely remain as they are and perhaps the 50 million users whose data were harvested illegally could find themselves in a worse situation. In a nutshell, only the Europeans are safe from privacy invasion, since the European law is the biggest and one with most stringent rules since the inception of internet use, giving the Europeans the power over their data usage.

While Apple and some other tech firms have complied with the European data laws, by protecting the privacy of users, Facebook and Google appear to be still sitting on the fence. Jeff Chester, the executive director of the Centre for Digital Democracy in Washington, said, “We want Facebook and Google and all other companies to immediately adopt in the United States and worldwide any new protections that they implement in Europe.”

In reality, having an Account with Facebook and Google is free, and both possess a considerable amount of data of billions of people all over the world. This alone makes them the global leaders in internet ad revenue. The revenue that churns out on a daily is accrued from the numerous “targeted” ad placements.  However, Zuckerberg maintains that every user can delete their information at any given time.

Google is yet to make a statement concerning its plans. The General Data Protection Regulation will take effect from May 25, and this may take a toll on Facebook’s revenue because all tech companies will have to be very specific on how they intend to share users’ data. Moreover, it’s a known fact that Facebook relies on data for advert purposes and is still sitting on the fence regarding how it hopes to comply with the GDPR.  

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