Amidst data scandal, Facebook will voluntarily enforce EU’s new privacy rules “everywhere”

Amidst data scandal, Facebook will voluntarily enforce EU’s new privacy rules “everywhere”

At XDA, we usually avoid delving into political topics due to the controversy that comes with it. Sometimes, however, it’s impossible to avoid politics in technology. Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro was effectively blocked by the U.S. Government over concerns that the Chinese company would influence the build-up of 5G technology in the U.S., something that the U.S. Government fears will lead to Chinese Government encroachment on critical U.S. infrastructure. This is just one recent example of the intersection of politics and technology, but another scandal involving the world’s leading social media platform is raising interesting implications for the entire technology industry.

Facebook is under worldwide scrutiny over user data obtained by Cambridge Analytica, a U.K. based political consulting firm. Amidst the company’s scandal, CEO Mark Zuckerberg affirmed the company’s commitment to addressing the privacy concerns raised by the fiasco with Cambridge Analytica. In particular, Mr. Zuckerberg said that Facebook would voluntarily implement the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws not only in the EU but in all areas where Facebook operates.

“We’re going to make all the same controls and settings available everywhere, not just in Europe,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, during a call with reporters.

The GDPR, set to take effect next month, is a set of regulations implemented by the EU to protect user data privacy.

For consumers, the GDPR:

  • Affirms the right of consumers to receive clear and understandable information about what data is being collected on them and why.
  • Affirms the right to request access to any data collected on them.
  • Affirms the right to request that one provider transfer all data collected to another provider.
  • Requires that companies offer ways for consumers to be “forgotten,” ie. delete all personal data that the company has collected.
  • Requires companies to obtain the express consent of consumers before collecting any data, but most importantly it mandates that companies cannot bundle consent requests in lengthy, complex documents that consumers never read.
  • Requires companies to immediately disclose data that is stolen or lost in a data breach.

Adapting to these requirements has been a challenge for many companies that have collected data on largely unwitting consumers for years. The EU is a market that can’t be avoided, and so many technology companies have begrudgingly changed their practices to abide by EU consumer protection laws.

Outside of the EU, however, tech companies continue their same data collection practices. In countries where consumer protection laws aren’t as stringent, there’s little to no incentive to implement better, user-focused data protection features. Only amidst a major scandal is choosing to voluntarily implement the EU requirements worldwide.

This is certainly a step in the right direction for Facebook. We hope that this is the start of an industry-wide change where all consumers are better protected from unwanted data collection. It’s a shame that one of the biggest players in the field is changing their practices only after a scandal that is rocking the company to their core, but this wouldn’t be the first time that a scandal triggered a cascade of events leading to better data privacy.

Via: ArsTechnica

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