Friday

19th Jul 2019

Facebook account of data breach disappoints EU commissioner

  • EU commissioner Vera Jourova: 'I appreciate that [Facebook is] trying to be more transparent' (Photo: European Commission)

Vera Jourova, the European Commissioner for justice and consumer affairs is not yet satisfied with Facebook's action following the data breach of 2.7 million users in the EU, she told EUobserver via a spokesman on Friday (6 April).

"I appreciate that they are trying to be more transparent," she said about the US social media giant in a written statement.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"Unfortunately some explanations fall short of my expectations. It's clear that data of Europeans have been exposed to a huge risk and I am not sure if Facebook took all the necessary steps to implement change," she noted.

Jourova commented about a letter she received on Thursday by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

The commission spokesman said the Facebook letter itself could not be made public.

The letter reportedly explained that data from possibly up to 2.7 million users from the EU may have been "improperly shared" with Cambridge Analytica, a UK consulting firm accused of having used that data in an attempt to sway the US elections and the Brexit vote.

"As I already said, for me this story is not only about data protection," said Jourova on Friday.

"This is a threat to our democracy and electoral processes. I would like to speak with Ms Sandberg about how they intend to ensure transparency and respect the rules of our democratic debate and how they plan to change once the GDPR is in place."

The GDPR is the general data protection regulation, a new piece of EU legislation that is expected to have severe ramifications on the relationship between companies that process personal data and their customers.

"This story is too important, too shocking, to treat it as business as usual," added Jourova.

"The internet is not a space free of rule of law. The rules that apply offline also need to be respected in the online world," she noted.

"Those companies have a great power; I want them to also bear great responsibility," the Czech commissioner said.

Mistakes were made

Earlier this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call with press that the company had made mistakes and that it was trying to improve security on the social media platform.

"We didn't take a broad enough view of what our responsibility is. That was a huge mistake. It was my mistake," he said.

"The reality of a lot of this is that when you are building something like Facebook that is unprecedented in the world, there are going to be things that you mess up," said Zuckerberg.

"If we had gotten this right, we would have messed something else up. I don't think anyone is going to be perfect. What I think people should hold us accountable for is learning from the mistakes, and continually doing better and continuing to evolve what our view of our responsibility is," he added.

Next week, Jourova will speak to Sandberg by phone.

EU data chiefs rally behind UK over Cambridge Analytica

EU leaders at a Brussels summit demand social networks and digital platforms guarantee transparency and privacy. Their call comes amid growing backlash against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica over voter manipulation.

Agenda

Facebook and Hungary top EU agenda This Week

The US internet giant's massive data breach will be discussed in the EU, while Europe will find out whether Viktor Orban and his party are re-elected for another term to lead Hungary.

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law
  2. Timmermans trolls 'idiot' Brexit negotiators
  3. Rudderless Europe: Will real Germany please stand up?
  4. PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory
  5. Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts
  6. EU proposes yearly rule of law 'reports'
  7. Poland 'optimistic' despite new EU law checks
  8. What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us