Facebook, Netflix and Other US Tech Giants Have Again Been Called Out For Shady Data Handling Procedures

A new report claims that US tech giants like Facebook and Netflix have absolutely failed in managing the US-EU data transfers legally for years. While this might have been a major point of concern to look up to, still the US government has responded back to the claims saying that there is nothing to really worry about.

The campaign of legal data transfers between countries was started by an Austrian privacy expert Max Schrems as he began asking 33 tech companies from the US about how they carry out the process of sending customer data and what legal prospects do they take care of?

The responses came out to be very shocking with very few companies giving detailed explanations, some companies even accepted that they have no clue about everything that is happening and some, to our surprise as well, completely denied the law.

When companies like Airbnb, Netflix and Whatsapp were asked about the similar information they didn’t respond back with anything and some other ones directed the researchers to consult their privacy policies for the answers.

Microsoft, according to Schrems, was the only one to answer all the questions but they also made a claim of transferring personal data to the US as per Standard Contractual Clauses. However, in reality, the company has provided data to the US government under FISA702.

Overall, Schrems was more disappointed to see how none of the companies were able to give a satisfying answer. The ones who even felt important to give the answers were not falling in line with the judgment of CJEU and looking at the response, there is one thing clear that companies haven’t revised any kind of plan to tackle this concern in the near future as well.

Ever since the European Union called out the 2016 Privacy Shield agreement invalid in July, transatlantic data transfers have been a boiling issue considering how the surveillance practices of the US government can never guarantee any kind of privacy of users involved.

Right after the verdict, all the companies involved in data transfers have used other mechanisms to make sure that the data keeps on flowing. Hence, as a result, the campaign group of Schrem, noyb, has issued almost 100 complaints regarding how the data of European users is still being transferred to the US with the help of Google Analytics and Facebook Connect.

But the US government, on the other hand, has been smart enough to sideline the issue by stating in its newly published white paper that the transfer process is not something one should worry about.

In fact, deputy assistant secretary of Department of Commerce, James Sullivan has also issued a letter stating that the US legal framework for foreign intelligence collection is based on clear limits, strong safeguards, and continuous independent oversight to ensure privacy and it stands better than equivalent laws of other countries.

Furthermore, according to the paper, even if there are concerns regarding the surveillance practices of the US government, one should not be worried as the tech companies don’t really deal with the kind of data that can actually be of help for US intelligence agencies.


Photo: Emmanuele Contini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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