Facebook has been hit with a series of privacy investigations in Europe, is now gearing up to fight back. The social media giant argues that its ability to protect users against hacking and fraud could be negatively affected because of the ways regulators are overreaching, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
Facebook warns about the consequences
Facebook’s counterattack comes a week ahead of a court ruling in Belgium. The social-networking giant argued that the case against it is an ill-thought-out attempt to regulate privacy, and would remove one of the tools that Facebook uses to prevent automated programs from hacking into the accounts of its users.
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Regulators from Germany to Spain have launched five co-ordinated Facebook investigations, and among them ,the case brought by Belgium’s Privacy Commission is apparently the strongest. The regulator has requested fines of €250,000 ($284,000) a day in the case.
If Facebook loses, then the Belgian users will have to endure more identity checks before they could log into the website to protect against hacking, according to the response Facebook gave to regulators.
EU regulators, and their privacy concerns
Facebook’s European headquarters in Ireland, so the U.S. firm says it should be governed by the rules of that country. A German regulator recently ordered Facebook to allow the use of pseudonyms, and do away with the mandatory requirement of using real names. Opposing the order, Facebook appealed, saying that the policy of using real names ensures the safety and privacy of the users. The regulator expects a ruling this fall. Regulators in the Netherlands, France and Spain have also said that they are continuing with their inquiries.
The Chief Security Officer of Facebook, Alex Stamos, said, “Often regulators will focus on a very, very particular issue and lose sight of the safety issues that affect all 1.5 billion users.”
A series of decisions by the European Court have empowered the national data-protection authorities of Europe to take on Facebook and other tech firms. For instance, in 2014, the European Union’s Court of Justice allowed national regulators to enforce the right to be forgotten, which applies to search engines such as Google. Just last week, the CoJ gave additional powers to regulators to block the trans-Atlantic transfers of personal data by the firms including Facebook.