large tech companies are violating the avg

Jan

19

2019

Austrian privacy group states that large tech companies are violating the avg
An Austrian group that advocates privacy rights states that major tech companies such as Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, Apple and YouTube do not comply with the general data protection regulation. It concerns the right to ask which data the companies own.

The NGO called noyb , of which the well-known Austrian privacy advocate Max Schrems is the director, states that none of the companies or services investigated meets the general data protection regulation. This concerns the right for users to approach the companies and to ask what data the companies have about them. The companies DAZN and SoundCloud have not answered requests in their entirety, writes noyb . The other six companies or services, namely Amazon Prime, Apple Music, Flimmit, Netflix, Spotify and YouTube, came up with an answer, but according to noyb they do not.

Noyb states that many smaller companies often respond manually to these kind of avg requests. According to the group, this is different for large companies such as YouTube, Apple, Spotify and Amazon; they work with automated systems to meet the user requests. Noyb concludes that none of these systems came up with relevant data. Background information such as the sources, the possible recipients of the data and the storage period were often missing. In addition, the ‘raw data’ was often supplied in ‘cryptic formats’, so according to noyb it is ‘extremely difficult or impossible’ for users to understand the information. In many cases, certain types of raw data were also missing, noyb notes.

Max Schrems says that these systems ‘often do not come close to providing the data to which every user is entitled’. According to him, users often only get the raw data, but for example no information is given about who this data is shared with. According to Schrems, this results in a structural violation of the rights of users, because the systems are ‘built to prevent users from accessing the relevant information’.

The privacy group submitted complaints against the eight companies to the Austrian privacy watchdog on behalf of ten users. The general data protection regulation prescribes that a fine of 20 million euros or 4 percent of worldwide turnover can be imposed. According to noyb, this means that the theoretical maximum fine for the ten complaints can collectively amount to 18.8 billion euros. Honestly noyb has filed complaints about Google, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp with four EU privacy regulators.

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