EU to enact landmark data privacy law on May 25, 2018

In a welcome move, the EU’s Social Media Working Group will formulate a long term strategy to deal with the protection of personal data harvested from social networks.

Following the reporting of Facebook Inc’s fiasco in the way personal data of 87 million of its users were harvested for economic or political purposes, privacy watchdogs from the European Union are now set to delve deeper into this practice of harvesting personal data from social networks.

“A multi-billion dollar social media platform saying it is sorry simply is not enough,” said Andrea Jelinek, chair of the group of EU data protection authorities, in a statement on Thursday.

Facebook, the biggest social network has come under intense pressure from regulators following the revelation that British political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which counted U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign among its clients, harvested tens of millions of personal data from Facebook users.

“This is why we are creating a Social Media Working Group. What we are seeing today is most likely only one instance of the much wider spread practice of harvesting personal data from social media for economic or political reasons,” said Jelinek.

As per a statement by the Social Media Working Group, it will now formulate a long-term strategy to deal with this menace; however it did not detail as to what kind of step it is considering.

Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is leading the European probe into the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Significantly, On May 25, the EU is set to adopt a landmark data privacy law which will provide Europeans the right to know what data is stored on them and the right to have that deleted.

Under the new upcoming law, companies will need the explicit consent of users before they can use their personal data; further companies will have to be more specific on how they will use this data.

Companies found breaking the new law could face fines of up to 4% of their annual global turnover.

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