Ireland Fines Meta 390M Euros in Latest Privacy Crackdown 

Meta's logo can be seen on a sign at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2022. (AP)
Meta's logo can be seen on a sign at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2022. (AP)
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Ireland Fines Meta 390M Euros in Latest Privacy Crackdown 

Meta's logo can be seen on a sign at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2022. (AP)
Meta's logo can be seen on a sign at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2022. (AP)

Irish regulators on Wednesday hit Facebook parent Meta with hundreds of millions in fines for online privacy violations and banned the company from forcing European users to agree to personalized ads based on their online activity. 

Ireland's Data Protection Commission imposed two fines totaling 390 million euros ($414 million) in its decision in two cases that could shake up Meta's business model targeting users with ads based on what they do online. 

The watchdog fined Meta 210 million euros for violations of the European Union's strict data privacy rules involving Facebook and an additional 180 million euros for breaches involving Instagram. 

It's the commission's latest punishment for Meta for data privacy infringements, following four other fines for the company since 2021 that total more than 900 million euros. 

The decision stems from complaints filed in May 2018 when the 27-nation EU's privacy rules, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, took effect. 

Previously, Meta relied on getting informed consent from users to process their personal data to serve them personalized, or behavioral, ads. When GDPR came into force, the company changed the legal basis under which it processes user data by adding a clause to the terms of service for advertisements, effectively forcing users to agree that their data could be used. That violates EU privacy rules. 

The Irish watchdog initially sided with Meta but changed its position after the draft decision was sent to a board of EU data protection regulators, many of whom objected. 

In its final decision, the Irish watchdog said Meta “is not entitled to rely on the ‘contract’ legal basis to deliver behavioral adverts on Facebook and Instagram.” 

Meta said in a statement that “we strongly believe our approach respects GDPR, and we’re therefore disappointed by these decisions and intend to appeal both the substance of the rulings and the fines.” 

The Irish watchdog is Meta’s lead European data privacy regulator because its regional headquarters is in Dublin. 



Amazon Must Comply with US Agency's Pregnancy Bias Probe, Judge Rules

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Boves, France, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Boves, France, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo
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Amazon Must Comply with US Agency's Pregnancy Bias Probe, Judge Rules

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Boves, France, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Boves, France, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

A New York federal judge has ordered Amazon.com to comply with a subpoena from a US civil rights agency investigating claims that the online retailer discriminated against pregnant warehouse workers.

US District Judge Lorna Schofield in Manhattan late Thursday rejected Amazon's claims that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) subpoena was too broad and sought irrelevant information.

The EEOC is seeking data on requests that pregnant workers at five US warehouses made for accommodations such as limits on heavy lifting and additional breaks, and whether Amazon granted or denied them, Reuters reported.
The commission's probe was prompted by complaints from five women who say they faced pregnancy discrimination while working at Amazon warehouses in New Jersey, Connecticut, North Carolina, and California.

Amazon provided the EEOC with more than 200,000 pages of data in response to the subpoena, but not the specific information requested by the agency, according to court filings.

Schofield in her ruling said the information sought in the subpoenas was necessary for the EEOC to determine whether Amazon engaged in illegal discrimination. The judge gave Amazon until Aug. 9 to comply with the subpoena.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday. An EEOC spokesman declined to comment.

In 2022, a New York state agency filed an administrative complaint accusing Amazon of requiring pregnant and disabled warehouse workers to take unpaid leaves of absence, even if they were capable of working, instead of providing accommodations. That case is pending.

Amazon has denied wrongdoing and said it strives to support it workers, but acknowledged in a statement responding to the New York complaint that "we don't always get it right."

The EEOC launched its probe last year and issued a subpoena seeking five categories of information, including data on accommodations Amazon provided to warehouse workers with disabilities. At the time, federal law only required companies to provide the same accommodations to pregnant workers that they gave to employees with disabilities.

A law passed later last year mandates that employers accommodate workers' pregnancies regardless of how they treat workers with disabilities.