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As New Privacy Rules Hit Europe, Google And Facebook Hit With $8.8 Billion In Lawsuits

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Jake Johnson via CommonDreams.org,

"They totally know that it's going to be a violation, they don't even try to hide it," argued the Austrian privacy activist who filed the complaints…

Austrian attorney and privacy activist Max Schrems has filed complaints against Google, Facebook, and two Facebook affiliates for forcing users to consent to sharing their private data. (Photo: pxhere)

Accusing Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, and Instagram of "intentionally" violating Europe's strict new privacy rules that officially went into effect on Friday, Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems filed four lawsuits against the tech companies arguing they are still "coercing users into sharing personal data" despite rolling out new policies ostensibly aimed at complying with the new regulations.

"It's simple: Anything strictly necessary for a service does not need consent boxes anymore. For everything else users must have a real choice to say 'yes' or 'no,'" Schrems wrote in a statement.

"Facebook has even blocked accounts of users who have not given consent. In the end users only had the choice to delete the account or hit the 'agree'-button—that's not a free choice."

While Facebook—which is currently embroiled in international controversy following the Cambridge Analytica scandal—insists that its new policies are in compliance with Europe's new regulatory framework, Schrems argues that Facebook and Google aren't even attempting to follow the new law.

"They totally know that it's going to be a violation, they don't even try to hide it," Schrems told the Financial Times.

Schrems believes that courts can curtail companies’ ability to poke around in our private lives and wean them off their idea that, “ ‘We’re Silicon Valley, we know what’s right for everybody else.’ ”


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