Facebook’s sizable EU lobby, headed by Richard Allan, has taken out advertising in leading newspapers this morning to complain about “multiple” EU nations digging around the network’s data slurping business practices.
The company’s complaint is that the actions of national privacy watchdogs within the 28-member-state bloc pose a threat to the economy. And by economy he means Facebook’s business model of selling your data to advertisers and other interested parties.
Allan claims that regulators are wasting their time investigating Facebook’s data-handling behavior because, apparently, the firm has already undergone an intimate probe from Ireland’s information watchdog. Which also happens to have the most lax privacy safeguards of any EU member state.
Allan whines that Facebook has already fixed its data protection issues, after the privacy invader worked with Irish authorities to address “concerns” about its services.
A number of probes, in addition to Ireland’s, are underway in countries including Belgium and the Netherlands.
According to Allan, national authorities, whose officials are prying into Facebook’s business, are going against the common market spirit of the EU.
He went on to gripe that “Facebook’s recent experience in Europe” told “a disturbing tale.”
European regulators see it differently, however: a Europe-wide probe is already under way, with Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany all working together as part of a so-called Article 29 taskforce to tackle Facebook’s sloppy handling of consumer privacy.
The results of the probe could have ramifications for the company stateside – regulators often watch what the others do and use the finding as a springboard for their own investigation.
The numerous EU probes combined with increasing scrutiny in Latin America suggest Facebook’s days of recklessly invading privacy are about to be over. This could have serious financial ramifications given the company’s ability to earn money depends on the fast and loose treatment of personal data in exchange for financial reward.