Facebook parent Meta is facing demands that it stop harvesting personal data in the UK for targeted advertisements in a new lawsuit that goes to the heart of Facebook’s business model.
The legal challenge, which is being brought by human rights campaigner Tanya O’Carroll, is seeking a declaration that Meta is in breach of the regional General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by continuing to process her data and use it to profile her for ad targeting purposes.
This case attacking Meta’s business model adds to a series of regulatory and legal risks for Meta in Europe, ranging from trans-Atlantic data flows to antitrust actions in Germany and the UK.
Meta has built tools for privacy check-up and ad preferences, where it explains what data people have shared and how they can exercise control over the type of ads they see, Meta said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. “We know that privacy is important to our users, and we take this seriously,” Meta’s spokesperson said.
O’Carroll was the chief coordinator of the People vs. Big Tech campaign and a former director and co-founder of Amnesty Tech. She’s now a senior fellow at the law firm Foxglove.
O’Carroll objected to “being surveilled and profiled,” AWO said. “A win could set a precedent for millions of users of search engines or social media in the UK and EU who have been forced to accept invasive surveillance and profiling to use digital platforms,” it added.
On paper, the European Union’s GDPR provides a suite of rights for individuals attached to their information including a right to object to processing for direct marketing purposes and an unqualified right that personal data shall no longer be processed for such a purpose if the user objects.
“We shouldn’t have to give up every detail of our personal lives just to connect with friends and family online. The law gives us the right to take back control over our personal data and stop Facebook surveilling and tracking us,” said O’Carroll in a statement.
Read the full claim here.