In an effort to reduce its liability under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set to take effect in May, Facebook has transferred responsibility for more than 1.5 billion users in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Australia from its Ireland-based headquarters to its domestic headquarters in California.
“We apply the same privacy protections everywhere, regardless of whether your agreement is with Facebook Inc. or Facebook Ireland,” the company said in a statement sent to Reuters, which broke the story.
Facebook is widely seen to have dodged a GDPR bullet in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
“Fortunately for those concerned, it is still a couple of months away from coming into effect,” Lee Munson, security researcher at Comparitech.com, said last month. “Once it is in place, firms will have to consider the question of informed consent before using any personal data, whether collected directly or indirectly, and the whole landscape will change forever.”
Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting of data on millions of Facebook users prompted internal and external probes of both the social media giant and the data analytics firm. Facebook has been scrambling to regain the trust of users, regulators and lawmakers in part by modifying its privacy policies.
It also renewed calls for legislation and regulation aimed at tightening privacy and data protection measures at social media firms as well as harsher consequences for infractions. “Recent scandals like the Cambridge Analytica breach and the Russian interference in our 2016 election were shocking—but not surprising if you’ve been paying attention to tech companies’ failure to protect users, and the U.S. government’s failure to hold them accountable,” said former Sen. Al Franken, who’ll give his take on how the scandals came about, what allowed them to thrive and how to prevent a repeat performance at the upcoming Privacy Xchange Forum in Lisbon. “As a senator, I fought to implement laws that would protect users’ personal information and raised the alarm about the growing influence of these new corporate giants.”