Ireland’s data regulator has imposed a fine of 4,500,000 euros (approximately Rs 4 crore) on Twitter because the loophole made some private tweets public. The loophole is the first sanction against a US company under the new EU data privacy system.
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)’s “one-stop shop” system makes Ireland’s Data Protection Commission the main regulatory authority for Twitter, Facebook, Apple, and Google because they are located at the headquarters of the European Union.
GDPR has been in effect since 2018, but the Twitter case is the first system to use a new dispute resolution system, according to which a major national regulator will make a decision before consulting with regulators in other EU countries.
Some EU regulators opposed Ireland’s preliminary Twitter ruling issued in May, which triggered a recommendation to the dispute resolution body, the European Data Protection Commission, to ensure a majority of two-thirds of EU member states.
Twitter fines related to an investigation into an error in its Android application in 2019, in which some users’ protected tweets were made public.
The Data Protection Commission said in a statement that, in particular, it was levied because Twitter “failed to notify DPC of violations in a timely manner and failed to adequately record violations.”
Twitter said in a statement that the delay in reporting the incident was an “unexpected result of staffing between Christmas 2018 and New Year’s Day” and that changes have been made so that future incidents can be reported in a timely manner.
The statement said: “We take full responsibility for this error, and continue to work to protect the privacy and data of our customers, including through our work to promptly and transparently inform the public of problems.”
Irish regulators have conducted more than 20 major investigations into American technology companies and have the power to impose fines on the highest 4 items of the company’s global revenue or 20 million euros (approximately 2 billion rupees) (whichever is higher).
Twitter is the subject of at least another investigation conducted by the Irish regulator.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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