The new GDPR enforcement regime has seen Facebook and Google hit with a raft of lawsuits accusing the companies of coercing users into sharing personal data.
The lawsuits, which seek to fine Facebook 3.9 billion and Google 3.7 billion euro, were filed by Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, a longtime critic of the companies’ data collection practices.
EU’s GDPR requires clear consent and justification for any personal data collected from users, forcing companies across the internet to revise their privacy policies and collection practices, Verge writes.
Both tech giants – Google and Facebook – have rolled out new policies and products to comply with GDPR, but Schrems’ complaints point to the way companies obtain consent for the privacy policies, asking users to check a box in order to access services.
The lawsuits are broken up into specific products, with one filed against Facebook and two others against its Instagram and WhatsApp subsidiaries while a fourth suit was filed against Google’s Android operating system.
Both companies have disputed the charges, arguing that existing measures were adequate to meet GDPR requirements. “We build privacy and security into our products from the very earliest stages,” Google said in a statement, “and are committed to complying with the EU GDPR.”
Facebook offered a similar defense, saying, “We have prepared for the past 18 months to ensure we meet the requirements of the GDPR.”