London — Meta was fined the equivalent of a record $1.3 billion by the European Union on Monday for its transfer of users’ personal data from Europe to the United States.
Andrea Jelinek, chair of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), said Meta’s infringement was “very serious since it concerns transfers that are systematic, repetitive and continuous.”
“Facebook has millions of users in Europe, so the volume of personal data transferred is massive,” Jelinek said in a statement. “The unprecedented fine is a strong signal to organizations that serious infringements have far-reaching consequences.”
Meta was also ordered to bring its data transfers into compliance with European privacy law. It was given five months to stop transferring EU users’ data to the United States and six months to stop storing European citizens’ personal data in the U.S. that had previously been transferred in violation of EU privacy regulations, the Financial Times newspaper reported.
The tech giant said it would appeal the ruling and argued there was a problematic clash between U.S. and European privacy regulations.
“Without the ability to transfer data across borders, the internet risks being carved up into national and regional silos, restricting the global economy and leaving citizens in different countries unable to access many of the shared services we have come to rely on,” Meta said in a statement.
The decade-long battle over where Facebook data is stored began after the disclosures of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden prompted an Austrian privacy campaigner to bring a legal challenge over possible U.S. intelligence gathering in Europe, the Reuters news agency reported.
Last month, Meta said that it expected a new agreement over EU-US data transfers to come into effect before it has to suspend them, Reuters reported.
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