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Key EU decision on Meta exposes US data-surveillance complex – Reuters

Historic Data Collection Fine Shows the US is the World’s Top Cybersecurity Threat

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, was fined a record 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission on Monday and later ordered to stop transferring data. data collected from Facebook users in Europe to the United States in violation of European data. protective laws.

According to the body’s decision, the company failed to comply with a 2020 ruling by the European Union’s highest court that Facebook data was sent to the United States from the EU, as the reports the New York Times (NYT), “was not sufficiently protected from American spy agencies.” Meta is now ready to begin a lengthy appeal process.

It should be noted that this EU decision is in addition to an ongoing $725 million class action lawsuit that affects hundreds of millions of active users in the United States from May 2007 to December 2022. Facebook is accused of make user data available to third parties without their permission.

Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, whose investigations launched previous cases against Meta, was reported by the NYT as saying that “Unless US surveillance laws are fixed, Meta will have to fundamentally restructure its systems.“According to Schrems, the solution will probably be a”federated social network » where most user data would remain in the EU except for “necessary” transfers, for example, when someone in the EU sends a message to someone in the US.

For his part, however, Meta said he was unfairly singled out. Sir Nicholas Clegg, Meta’s global affairs chairman and former UK deputy prime minister, and Jennifer G. Newstead, the company’s chief legal officer, said in a statement that “The internet risks being split into national and regional silos, restricting the global economy and leaving citizens of different countries unable to access many of the shared services we rely on. if these decisions are implemented.

However, the question on most people’s minds is: are these data transfers a real security risk? The answer is a resounding yes. This is because in the United States, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution which should prevent unlawful government searches and seizures has effectively been suspended.

In the landmark case of Carpenter v. United States, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the state must issue a search warrant to compel companies to hand over sensitive data, in this case location data. But this does not apply if companies provide this data voluntarily – for example, by selling it through data brokers for high fees. This means that government agencies can essentially write a massive check and buy data on the open market, whether or not it’s relevant to an ongoing case.

For its part, SCOTUS has not heard of another case that alters this interpretation of Carpenter, and since Congressional legislation is so extraordinarily outdated and far behind other blocs or countries, such as the EU or China, it there are no applicable laws to follow. the government to buy this data. This leads to a serious legal and ethical dilemma.

On the one hand, the state has a legitimate interest in collecting new data points for ongoing cases. Consider the latest data which indicates that approximately half of murder cases in the United States go unsolved. Predictably, data from Big Tech companies could help solve these cases – and, indeed, I know this to be true because my own uncle was charged with a series of rapes in Kentucky and Ohio dating back thirty years after the DNA was provided by a private party. ancestry company my grandfather used was taken over by law enforcement.

In this case, justice clearly prevailed. Without this proof, which was obtained through a voluntary exchange between the state and a private company, this monster would still be out there, threatening the community and destroying lives. This instance of data collection helped a worthy cause, and I’m actually very grateful.

Big Tech sued for fatal lack of censorship

But, at the same time, it is clear that it could lead to nefarious activities on the part of the state. And, since the people who commit such wanton crimes in the United States are not people living abroad, it makes no sense for the US government to use this argument to collect global data. While the state may have some interest in certain data, and there certainly needs to be new laws governing this, the status quo clearly has no legitimate purpose.

Given the ten years since the Edward Snowden leaks, we already know that US intelligence services are collecting all kinds of data on people all over the world en masse. We know from Guardian reporting that the United States has programs like PRISM, which directly monitors Americans’ Google and Yahoo accounts, or XKeyscore, which is an analytics tool that collects “almost everything that is done on the internet.” And the United States is able to do this – maintain its global information hegemony – because companies are compelled to provide data via search warrants, and there are lucrative financial incentives to voluntarily turn over data to the public. ‘State.

Maybe this landmark case against Meta will be some sort of news flash for people about American technology, which is to say that it is extremely dangerous and not to be trusted. Many countries around the world, especially those in Europe, take inspiration from US intelligence to ban Chinese or Russian technology while completely ignoring the elephant in the room: the US government and its private sector partners are the main threats to global cybersecurity. .

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


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