Sep 11, 2017

Spain fines Facebook for illegal data collection practices

Noah Berger / AP

Spain's data compliance regulatory body, Agencia Española de Proteccion de Datos (AEPD) announced Monday that it's fining Facebook $1.4 million for using consumers' data, without legal and explicit consent, to help advertisers target ads. One issue that was specifically addressed was Facebook's storing of data via cookies for up to 17 months after a user deletes her profile.

The investigation is a part of a coordinated effort between authorities in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands to investigate whether Facebook complies with EU data privacy laws. Authorities from France's data privacy regulatory arm announced earlier this year they were fining Facebook 150,000 euros for violating data privacy standards, and Belgium announced similar conclusions.

Why it matters: Europe has much stricter data privacy policies than the U.S., which has inhibited data-driven U.S. tech companies like Facebook and Google in those markets. Facebook, in particular, has been affected because of cookies they use to collect users' data even when they aren't signed in. E.U. regulators argue Facebook isn't doing enough to inform people about data collection.

Our thought bubble: European regulators introduced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last year, which will put major restraints on how these companies can use consumer data to sell ads beginning in 2018. Facebook's struggle to comply with current standards could mean trouble as more aggressive laws are implemented next year.

The bigger picture: European countries have great access to broadband but they use much less social media. Per Pew, only 37% of Germans use social media but 86% have internet access. The point: this anti-tech attitude stems from cultural trends favoring privacy.

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Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson / Staff

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Driving the news: Biden spoke about the state of the 2020 race during a virtual fundraiser on Friday night that was opened to pooled coverage.

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Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. Photo: Bill Clark / Getty Images

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,097,909 — Total deaths: 59,131 — Total recoveries: 226,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 277,828 — Total deaths: 7,406 — Total recoveries: 9,772Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primary elections by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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