Norwegian regulator fines Meta for privacy breach

OSLO (Reuters) – Facebook and Instagram owner Meta Platforms will be fined 1 million crowns ($100,000) a day for breaching privacy unless it takes action corrective measures, Norway’s data protection authority said on Monday, in a move that could have wider European implications.

Regulator Datatilsynet said it would charge the fine daily from August 4 to November 3 unless Meta takes action.

He said Meta cannot collect user data in Norway, such as users’ physical locations, and use it to target advertising at them, called behavioral advertising, a common business model at Big Tech.

“It is so clear that this is illegal that we must intervene now and immediately. We cannot wait any longer,” Tobias Judin, head of the international section of Datatilsynet, told Reuters.

Meta said it would review Datatilsynet’s decision and there would be no immediate impact on its services.

Datatilsynet has seized the European Data Protection Board which, if it agrees, could make the fine permanent and extend the territorial scope of the decision in Europe.

“It would put extra pressure on Meta,” Judin said.

Datatilsynet’s decision comes days after the European Union’s highest court ruled that Meta cannot collect user data for behavioral advertising purposes.

In December, the data regulator in Ireland (DPC), where Meta has its European headquarters, said the company must end the practice.

“We continue to engage constructively with the Irish DPC, our lead regulator in the EU, regarding our compliance with their ruling,” Meta said.

“The debate around the legal bases has been going on for some time and companies continue to face a lack of regulatory certainty in this area.”

Norway is not a member of the European Union but is part of the European single market.

The news was first reported by Norwegian television channel NRK.

($1 = 10.0190 Norwegian kroner)

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Anna Ringstrom and Jason Neely)

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