Meta, facing daily fines in Norway, challenges the norms of digital privacy. This monetary reprimand signals a broader scrutiny as Meta grapples with the consequences of their actions. Norway’s firm stance showcases a paradigm shift—Meta, once a tech titan, now faces a new era of accountability.
Norway’s data protection authority, Datatilsynet, has taken a decisive step against Meta Platforms, the owner of Facebook, imposing a daily fine of one million crowns ($149,833) from August 14 onwards due to privacy breaches. This decision could have far-reaching implications throughout Europe.
The regulator Datatilsynet had previously warned on July 17 that Meta would face fines unless it addressed the privacy breaches identified by the authority.
Meta Platforms has not responded immediately to a request for comment from Reuters.
Datatilsynet made it clear that Meta cannot collect user data in Norway, including users’ physical locations, and use it for targeted advertising, a practice known as behavioral advertising, which is common among major tech companies. Meta was given until August 4 to rectify the issue.
Tobias Judin, the head of Datatilsynet’s international section, stated, “As of next Monday, a daily fine of 1 million crowns will start to apply.” The fine will be in effect until November 3. Datatilsynet has the authority to make this fine permanent by referring its decision to the European Data Protection Board, which could extend the decision’s territorial reach to the rest of Europe if it concurs with the Norwegian regulator’s ruling. However, Datatilsynet had not taken this step at the time of the report.
Meta recently announced its intention to seek users’ consent in the European Union before allowing businesses to target advertising based on user interactions with its services like Facebook and Instagram. Judin indicated that this step was insufficient. He emphasized that Meta must immediately halt the processing of personal data until the consent mechanism is fully operational. He also noted, “According to Meta, this will take several months, at the very earliest, for them to implement… And we don’t know what the consent mechanism will look like. In the meantime, people’s rights are being violated every single day.”
Meta stated that this change was implemented to address regulatory requirements in the region and was a response to an order issued in January by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, which serves as Meta’s lead EU regulator, to reevaluate the legal basis for its ad targeting practices.
It’s worth noting that while Norway is not a member of the European Union, it is part of the European single market, which means its decisions can have implications beyond its borders.