Spanish Data Regulator Fines Facebook €1.2m For Breaking Privacy Laws

By Christian Smith

Facebook has been handed a €1.2m (£1.1m) fine in Spain after the country’s data watchdog found it broke privacy laws.

The Spanish data protection watchdog accused the social network giant of using generic and unclear terms in its privacy terms.

The regulator who said it found three instances where the social media network had collected personal data on its Spanish users without informing them of how it was to be used, said Facebook had seriously breached its privacy laws.

Facebook was fined 600,000 euros for violating the country’s data protection rules and 300,000 euros each for two serious violations.

Investigation shows that Facebook infringed citizens’ rights when it stored the details of deleted accounts for more than 17 months

In a statement, the agency said that “Facebook’s privacy policy contains generic and unclear terms” and “does not adequately collect the consent of either its users or nonusers, which constitutes a serious infringement,” of data protection rules.

In response, a representative of Facebook said: “We take note of the DPA’s decision with which we respectfully disagree. Whilst we value the opportunities we’ve had to engage with the DPA to reinforce how seriously we take the privacy of people who use Facebook, we intend to appeal this decision.

“As we made clear to the DPA, users choose which information they want to add to their profile and share with others, such as their religion. However, we do not use this information to target adverts to people.”

“Facebook has long complied with EU data protection law through our establishment in Ireland. We remain open to continuing to discuss these issues with the DPA, whilst we work with our lead regulator the Irish Data Protection Commissioner as we prepare for the EU’s new data protection regulation in 2018.”

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