By Padraic Halpin
DUBLIN (Reuters) – Meta was hit with a record 1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion) fine by its lead privacy regulator in the European Union for its handling of user information and given five months to stop transferring users’ data to the United States.
The fine imposed by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) concerned Meta’s continued transferring of personal data topped the previous 746 million euro record EU privacy fine by Luxembourg on Amazon.com Inc in 2021, according to a DPC statement on Monday.
Meta said in a statement that it will appeal the ruling, including the “unjustified and unnecessary fine”, and seek a stay of the orders through the courts.
The long-running battle over where Facebook stores its data began a decade ago after Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems brought a legal challenge over the risk of U.S. snooping in light of disclosures by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Meta said last month it expected a new pact facilitating the safe transfer of EU citizens’ personal data to the United States would be fully implemented before it has to suspend transfers.
That would mean its previous warning that a stoppage could force it to suspend Facebook services in Europe would not come to pass.
Officials have said the new data protection framework – agreed by the European Union and U.S government in March 2022 – may be ready by July, but Meta also cautioned that there is a chance it might not be ready in time.
($1 = 0.9084 euros)
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Gerry Doyle and Sharon Singleton)