London: In a groundbreaking case, the European Court of Justice ruled against Facebook in a legal challenge over a German antitrust case. The court stated that competition watchdogs, that are vested with the opportunity to keep antitrust policies at bay, have the authority to assess if corporate giants such as Facebook comply with Europe’s strict privacy rules.
These rules are enforced by the national data privacy regulators. This ruling allows antitrust combatting bodies to investigate whether techie giants like these abuse and exert market dominance by excluding competitors and also consider any violations of data privacy rules.
Facebook’s parent company, Meta, expressed concerns regarding their evaluation of the court’s decision. After that, they will provide further comments on the matter. The court’s decision upholds a 2019 German antitrust ruling that posed a threat to Meta’s business model, which involves selling targeted ads based on user data collected from its services, including Instagram and WhatsApp.
This landmark decision could lead to increased scrutiny of technology companies. Europe has been at the forefront of regulating the power of major digital platforms, with new standards taking effect next month and ongoing efforts to establish rules on artificial intelligence.
The German Federal Cartel Office, Bundeskartellamt, did not dispute Facebook’s use of customer data for ad targeting on its platform. However, they argued that Facebook should obtain separate permission from other apps and websites before combining data.
The issue at hand revolves around how Facebook’s use of user consent for data processing affects privacy rights and data protection in the digital age.
In a further significant development, the European Union’s top court ruled that companies cannot use an excuse of “legitimate interest” as a justification for using personal data to deliver targeted ads to users.
According to a press release summarizing the court’s decision, this ruling will have far-reaching effects on the business models of the data economy. Andreas Mundt, President of the German Federal Cartel Office, acknowledged the significant impact of the EU court’s decision.
The decision emphasizes the importance of obtaining freely given consent from users under EU privacy rules. It sets an important precedent for safeguarding privacy rights and promoting transparency in the use of personal information.