On the first day of GDPR enforcement, Facebook and Google have been hit with a raft of lawsuits accusing the companies of coercing users into sharing personal data the Verge reported. The lawsuits filed by Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, are seeking fines on Facebook and Google worth 3.9 billion and 3.7 billion euro (roughly $8.8 billion in dollars) respectively. Max is a longtime critic of the companies’ data collection practices.
GDPR requires clear consent and justification for any personal data collected from users, and these guidelines have pushed companies across the internet to revise their privacy policies and collection practices. But there is still widespread uncertainty over how European regulators will treat the requirements, and many companies are still unprepared for enforcement.
Both Google and Facebook have rolled out new policies and products to comply with GDPR, but Schrems’ complaints argue those policies don’t go far enough. In particular, the complaint singles out the way companies obtain consent for the privacy policies, asking users to check a box in order to access services. It’s a widespread practice for online services, but the complaints argue that it forces users into an all-or-nothing choice, a violation of the GDPR’s provisions around particularized consent.