Facebook-parent Meta hit with privacy complaints in Europe over AI plans

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A Vienna-based privacy campaign group filed complaints in 11 European countries against Meta on Thursday, saying the global tech giant’s planned privacy policy change would allow “unlawful” use of personal data for artificial intelligence technology.

The complaints brought by the European Center for Digital Rights -- also known as Noyb (“None of Your Business”) -- follow a recent announcement by Meta in which it informed its European users of a change in its privacy policy from June 26.

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The group said “on closer inspection” it found out that the US giant Meta -- via its new privacy policy -- plans to use all public and non-public user data that it has collected since 2007 “for any undefined type of current and future AI technology.”

The undefined AI technology can ingest personal data from any source and share any information with undefined “third parties” -- all without getting the user’s opt-in consent required by law, Noyb said.

“This is clearly the opposite of GDPR compliance,” Noyb founder Max Schrems said in a statement, referring to the EU’s landmark General Data Protection Regulation, which aims to make it easier for people to control how companies use their personal information.

“Meta doesn’t say what it will use the data for, so it could either be a simple chatbot, extremely aggressive personalized advertising or even a killer drone,” Schrems said.

Through the complaints, the group asks data protection authorities in the 11 European countries to stop Meta’s new privacy policy before it enters into force in late June and fully investigate it.

The group said it plans to file complaints in the remaining EU member states in the coming days.

Noyb has launched several legal cases against technology giants, often prompting action from regulatory authorities.

The group began working in 2018 with the advent of the EU’s landmark GDPR.

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