A new European privacy law going into effect later this month won’t be the end of debate over how much personal data companies like Facebook and Google collect in the name of better social media management.
In some ways, the law that goes into effect May 25 is just the beginning.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
The EU’s new privacy law, which goes into effect on May 25, forbids companies from forcing users to turn over personal information as a condition of using their services. Does that mean you can simply say, “No, thanks,” to any data collection and still use Facebook? Not exactly.
There are many exceptions in which companies can still collect data, such as when that information is necessary to fulfill a contract with you. That has set the stage in Europe for a battle over what is truly necessary, and when consent is “freely given,” regulators and privacy lawyers say.
“The crux of this argument is going to be the legitimacy of the behavioral advertising business model,” said Omer Tene, vice president and chief knowledge officer for the International Association of Privacy Professionals. “Behavioral advertising” is the name for the business, worth tens of billions of dollars a year, that allows companies to show users targeted advertising based on their internet activity.
In recent weeks, Facebook has continued work to comply with the new European law—called the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR—in part by asking users in the EU to opt in to being shown targeted advertising that draws on data gathered from their activity, such as web browsing or purchasing information. But when it comes to authorizing Facebook to collect that data, the company now gives users a stark choice: agree to its new terms of service or delete their accounts.
The European debate is an example of the dynamism necessary to keep up with social media management.