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Facebook’s Ray-Ban Stories cause privacy concerns in Europe

Facebook teamed up with Ray-Ban to create Ray-Ban Stories, new smart glasses.  The product, which will initially be only available in stores in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, the UK and the US, is already facing severe scrutiny over privacy concerns.  So, how are different privacy watchdogs taking the development of these spectacles? Did Facebook take any steps to respond to privacy concerns? And finally, could the smart glasses come under the radar of privacy watchdogs in the Western Balkans?   What are Facebook’s Ray-Ban smart glasses? Smart glasses are not a new technological development.  The concept has been around for […]

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06 Sep 2021

Irish watchdog issues record fine in WhatsApp data protection ruling

The Irish Data Protection Commission (“DPC”) fined Facebook’s WhatsApp with EUR 225 million in its latest EU data protection ruling.  The fine is the second largest of its kind in the EU. So far, only Amazon paid more in a privacy case in the EU. The DPC said in its ruling on September 2 that WhatsApp’s policies were not in line with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), noting it registered breaches of Article 5(1)(a) as well as Articles 12 through 14.  The breaches particularly include the provision of information and the transparency of that information to both users […]

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Schrems, Facebook and Data Privacy

Why Schrems?  The EU’s trust in the processing of personal data seems to be shaken. With the famous case Maximillian Schrems v Facebook Ireland Limited pending before the Austrian Supreme Court (“Court“) for a while now, Maximillian Schrems requested the Court to refer four questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU“) concerning the lawful use of personal data of all Facebook users from the EU.   So, who is Maximilian Schrems? Maximillian Schrems is a law student from Austria and a personal data protection activist who has been extremely vocal about data protection before EU authorities. […]

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25 Jun 2021

Data protection and Big Tech: Is it just a bump in the road?

The topic of data protection and Big Tech keeps on giving.  It appears the subject of data protection simply does not want to leave the main stage and wishes to remain in everyone’s center of attention.  This should not come as a surprise, since the world is only starting to become more integrated in terms of digital services provided by Big Tech companies. The most recent “controversy” on data protection and Big Tech comes from Germany, or to be more precise, Hamburg’s Commissioner for Data Protection (“Commissioner”).  The Commissioner investigated Facebook’s use of personal data gathered from WhatsApp users and […]

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14 Jun 2021

Gatekeepers and Digital Markets – EU Digital Saga continues

Some reports say that it would be impossible to live in the digital world outside of the ecosystem created by Big Tech giants.  The concentration of power in a small number of platforms has allowed some tech companies, popularly known as the Four Horsemen” to exercise unparalleled economic power and social impact almost without any oversight by regulators.  These companies have complete market dominance, each in their respective field of expertise: Apple in consumer electronics and mobile operating systems;  Facebook in the social media, Google in online searches, video-sharing and mapping-based navigation; and, finally, Amazon in the e-commerce market.  Hence, […]

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12 Feb 2021

EU Digital Saga – the Beginning of the End for Big Tech Supremacy?

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the Internet has been a key factor in driving globalization and economic growth in recent years.  Along the same lines, leading internet intermediaries have played an essential role in expediting this growth and providing companies of all sizes with the means to capitalize on all the benefits the digital era has to offer.  Thus, it is hardly surprising that many Internet intermediaries, such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google, are among the world’s most successful companies.  However, there are genuine concerns that their economic prosperity and progress are indirectly being encouraged by legislation that shields […]

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22 Jan 2021

The WhatsApp Case: The Love & Hate Relationship between Big Tech and Data Protection

Is there another earthshattering change in the tech sector that will be making headlines for the next few weeks?  Tech behemoths have certainly kept journalists and bloggers on their toes lately due to many recent dramatic changes and major decisions. WhatsApp, a company owned by Facebook, wanted to go the whole nine yards to become the most successful messaging and calls application, so its executives have quite recently reached a decision to update its privacy policy.  As it rolled out the latest updates for Android and iOS, the internet exploded with claims that this encrypted messaging app, whose major selling point […]

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The UK’s CMA: Facebook and eBay to Tackle Fake Reviews

We don our Facebook spyglass once again.  However, unlike the last time it was on our radar, Facebook is now a model co-operator. With the goal of putting their products and services on the map, and bringing home the bacon, many users on social media and other online platforms have been involved in trading fake and misleading reviews as a way of reaching their selling point.  The thing is, Facebook and eBay users have been using word-of-mouth marketing to go viral.  Creating a buzz around your product/service is certainly what sells in this digital age. Good for them!  What is […]

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09 Oct 2019

Social Media Giant Faces Scrutiny: Facebook Challenged

Is bad stronger than good? It is a fact that people are far more inclined to remember negative criticism or comments, than praise.  It takes so many positive events to make amends for just one negative event. The Court of Justice of the European Union issued a Press release on October 3, concerning judgement in the case in which Mme Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek sued Facebook Ireland before the Austrian courts.  She requested the removal of the notably harmful comment by a Facebook user which Austrian courts found insulting and defaming.   The news immediately hit the headlines! The plain and simple truth […]

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07 Feb 2019

German Competition Authority: Facebook is a dominant company in the social networks market

The German Competition Authority (“Bundeskartellamt”) issued a decision which will have significant impact on both Facebook’s data policy and competition issues in relation to social networks.  The decision came after an almost three-year investigation into the practices of this social network. Internal divestiture of Facebook’s data The Bundeskartellamt has imposed far-reaching restrictions on Facebook, concerning its data processing practices.  So far, Facebook users have only been able to use the platform if they agreed to the terms and conditions which provide that user data can be collected outside the platform, including from websites and apps owned by Facebook, as well […]

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05 Nov 2018

The First Major GDPR Case Is Underway!

Not so long ago, on May 25, 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. The GDPR has been a subject of great interest and discussion, even prior to its implementation, due to its application on entities all over the world – inside or outside the European Union (EU). Although the GDPR has, practically, changed the legal framework in relation to the rules on data protection, and introduced a whole set of new obligations while imposing massive fines for non-compliance, the real implications of the application of the GDPR are yet to be seen, especially on non-EU entities. […]

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