THE SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook is attempting to limit the number of users that will be protected by the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The strict new privacy rules, which will go into effect on 25 May, will require the likes of Facebook to seek explicit opt-in consent before collecting data on users (erm) and to promptly disclose data breaches.
Currently, GDPR would require Facebook to apply these changes to 1.9 billion users, as Facebook users outside of the US and Canada are currently governed by terms of service agreed with the company's international headquarters in Ireland, an EU member state.
However, Facebook is trying to ensure that isn't the case and confirmed to Reuters that it's planning to exclude users in Australia, Africa, the Middle East and in Asia from the GDPR's protection by scaling back its presence in Ireland.
The report claims that the change would exclude around 1.52 billion users, or 70 per cent of people with Facebook accounts.
The move, albeit shady, is unsurprising. By exempting so many users from the incoming regulation, Facebook is, in turn, limiting its liability under GDPR, which allows for regulators to impose fines of up to four percent of a company's global annual revenue for privacy violations.
Facebook, however, downplayed the changes in a statement given to Reuters, saying "we apply the same privacy protections everywhere, regardless of whether your agreement is with Facebook Inc or Facebook Ireland."
The firm unconvincingly added that the reason for the change was related to the EU mandated privacy notices, "because EU law requires specific language."
"For example, the company said, the new EU law requires specific legal terminology about the legal basis for processing data which does not exist in US law," Reuters says.
The reports notes that, although confirmed by Facebook, Ireland was unaware of the firm's plans. One anonymous Irish official told Reuters that he "did not know of any plans by Facebook to transfer responsibilities wholesale to the United States or to decrease Facebook's presence in Ireland". µ
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