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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.

Go deeper

Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dave Lawler, author of World
56 mins ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny during a march last February. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny returned to Moscow on Sunday, five months after being poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok and despite being warned that he faced arrest upon his return.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.

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