Microsoft has trounced Facebook by announcing it will extend its GDPR compliance to all of its users worldwide, declaring: “We believe privacy is a fundamental human right.”
The pledge has been outlined in a blog post by the tech giant’s new deputy general counsel, Julie Brill, who was until recently a commissioner at the US Federal Trade Commission.
She writes: “We’ve been enthusiastic supporters of GDPR since it was first proposed in 2012. It sets a strong standard for privacy and data protection by empowering people to control their personal information.
“We believe privacy is a fundamental human right. As people live more of their lives online and depend more on technology to operate their businesses, engage with friends and family, pursue opportunities, and manage their health and finances, the protection of this right is becoming more important than ever.”
Microsoft’s stance is in sharp contrast to Facebook, which recently moved the accounts of nearly 1.5 billion users out of its Irish HQ to its US headquarters, meaning that they will not longer be covered by GDPR.
While the changes do not affect Facebook’s 239 million users in North America and 370 million in Europe, members based in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America will no longer be protected under the new privacy laws coming into force in May. The change will affect over 70% of its two billion-plus user base.
At the time Facebook denied it was trying to swerve GDPR.
Meanwhile Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has once again found himself in the firing line after what many claim was a “whitewashed” appearance in front of MEPs in Brussels.
Having been accused of showing contempt for the UK Parliamentary process, by refusing for the third time to appear in front of UK MPs, he lasted just 22 minutes before MEPs. During the hearing in Brussels, Zuckerberg made an opening statement which was followed by a long succession of questions allowing him to give his answers at the end as he chose, with no right to follow-up for the questioners.
Critics – including the MEPs there – said the format of the meeting meant Zuckerberg was let off the hook. Speaking out of turn, Green group co-leader Philippe Lamberts asked the Facebook chief: “Will you allow users to escape targeted advertising? I mean I asked you six yes or no questions, I got not a single answer!”
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