Max Schrems files first cases under GDPR against Facebook and Google

The Latest: Complaints vs Google, Facebook under new EU law

The complaints, filed on the day Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, take aim at what he describes as Google and Facebook's "forced consent".

Today marks the start of Europe's tough new privacy regime, and despite two years of warning and preparation time, at least two newspaper chains in the USA couldn't figure it out. So the rules will affect giants such as Facebook and Google and small US businesses with just one European client alike.

'You will also have more opportunities to make a claim for damage caused by the misuse of your data'.

Apple, for example, has rolled out new tools to European customers to make it easier for them to download the data the company holds about them and the devices they use.

It's May 25th and that means the world's most sweeping privacy law, known as the GDPR, is now in effect. While companies generally aren't changing what they're doing, they are revising privacy policies to eliminate legalese.

The company should explain to you the nature of the personal data breach and who to contact.

Today marks a milestone in the internet era, with new laws to put power back in people's hands so they can be sure the information they share online is safe. This morning, the BBC reported that a number of big USA news sites had gone down in the European Union due to GDPR.

Regulators will also look to hit the pocket books: Companies can be fined up to 4 per cent of their global revenue or €20 million, whichever is larger.

The rules also ease things for worldwide businesses in the European Union, because data regulations are now uniform across the economic zone.

The Latest: Complaints vs Google, Facebook under new EU law
This New European Privacy Law Is Why You're Getting All Those Subscription Emails

Europeans' privacy will be better protected and companies benefit from a single set of rules across the EU.

Okay, what are the specific rules a company must follow?

Note that the rules are different depending on the data in question. An Indian call center handling customer services for companies that sell products in Europe or a U.S. website tracking browsing histories of Europeans will be impacted.

Some companies are extending at least some EU-style protections to all users.

Companies found to be in violation of the privacy law can face steep fines. Some of these state that they will never be allowed to email you again unless you click a button to opt-in, while others say nothing will change, and simply have a prominent link to unsubscribe.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, for instance, promised "global settings and controls" for users during his USA congressional testimony in April, but was otherwise vague on the subject.

Three years ago, ahead of Schrems' pivotal court battles with Facebook and before most people even knew what GDPR was, we caught up with Schrems during a visit to Dublin.

If you don't update your preferences or actively opt-in, many companies may assume you don't want to continue receiving further communications and will remove you from their databases. The Pinterest-owned, read-it-later bookmarking service is taking a break in Europe - apparently while it works on achieving compliance with the region's updated privacy framework, GDPR, which will start being applied from tomorrow.

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