Earlier this year, European regulators hit tech giant Meta with a hefty fine for failing to comply with EU data privacy regulations. Instead of gaining the consent of users before utilizing their data, it has decided to move forward with a legitimate interests basis on April 5th.
Although Meta is disputing the enforcement, time is running out – with a three-month deadline to rectify its GDPR compliance quickly approaching. As such, they are taking action now while their lawyers attempt to overturn the charge.
Many EU data protection experts, however, disagree that Meta can justify its tracking and profiling activities, which are integral to the behavioral ads business, by invoking the legal concept of legitimate interests. This is because this particular legal ground demands strict necessity in how data is processed – a test which Meta’s mass surveillance ads business fails spectacularly. The ultimate assessment in such cases must weigh individuals’ privacy rights against the company’s interests. Yet trying to argue that the invasive nature of Meta’s microtargeting surpasses citizens’ fundamental right to privacy would be a difficult task indeed.