The EU Is About to Take a Bigger Stick to Big Tech - Privacy Community
A new auditing regime should make harder to give Meta, Google and Amazon an easy ride on data protection.

It’s well established that the European Union has some of the strictest privacy laws in the world, threatening fines of up to 4% of a company’s annual turnover. A lesser-known fact, and one which large tech firms would like to keep quiet, is that the EU hasn’t enforced those rules very strictly.

The most critical part comes at the end of the article:

the Commission won’t do its audits in the open; all the information that national privacy regulators share will be kept “strictly confidential.”

This lack of transparency is among the least things we need when it comes to build trust, especially if the secret keeper is the European Commission, a political body that has not been democratically elected and has been massively pushing toward mass surveillance by client-side scanning in recent years and months (supported by a European Parliament that didn’t make headlines of late exactly about their members’ personal integrity).

The EDPB’s last decision on Facebook, although it came late, is a good step in the right direction, and we should all hope that more of this is going to happen. Yet the ultimate change will only arrive if and when people and businesses change their everyday behaviour. Calling for stricter privacy rules - and their enforcement - is meaningless when the people at the same time use ever more intrusive online media for the sake of convenience. And it feels irritating when news organizations like Bloomberg are covering stories on these intrusive online media, while their websites contain dozens of trackers from these very same platforms.

As important as the political part is here, the real change can only come from the bottom-up.

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