Facebook is shifting its UK users out from beneath the strict privacy protections of the European Union, in response to a report from Reuters. Users of the social media web site, and of Instagram and WhatsApp, will should signal a phrases of service settlement within the coming months with Facebook’s headquarters in California, as an alternative of its European department based mostly within the Republic of Ireland. Moving the person agreements to the US implies that UK users will not be coated by information insurance policies crafted to stick to the EU’s stringent privacy regime.
This change is just like the one Google made earlier this year. It’s meant to keep away from a scenario the place UK residents are not residents of the European Union, however have agreements based mostly in an EU nation, the place Facebook is topic to the EU’s information safety legal guidelines. Users will nonetheless be protected by the UK’s information privacy legal guidelines, which presently mirror the EU’s GDPR.
Some UK privacy advocates are involved the UK might finally weaken its privacy legal guidelines as soon as it’s exterior the EU. The government director of Open Rights Group stated to Reuters that “[t]he bigger the company, the more personal data they hold, the more they are likely to be subject to surveillance duties or requirements to hand over data to the U.S. government.”
The worries aren’t based on nothing. Back in 2018, the US handed the CLOUD Act, which makes it simpler for the US authorities to share US firms’ information with international regulation enforcement (which UK businesses would depend as).
There’s additionally the matter of bargaining. Because the UK will not be included within the EU’s commerce agreements, the nation will have to start out making their very own — and privacy advocates are nervous about what protections the US might ask to be given up in negotiations.
Facebook’s UK department informed Reuters that “there will be no change to the privacy controls or the services Facebook offers to people in the UK,” however users of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram will should re-agree to the phrases and situations once more, which Facebook will ask them to do someday within the next six months.