EDPB takes unprecedented action against Meta: Bans behavioral advertising data processing across EEA

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) today announced it has taken decisive action against Meta Ireland Limited, commonly known as Meta, concerning the processing of personal data for behavioural advertising.

The EDPB's urgent binding decision, adopted on 27 October, instructs the Irish Data Protection Authority (DPA) as the lead supervisory authority (LSA) to take final measures against Meta Ireland Limited and impose a ban on the processing of personal data for behavioural advertising, based on the legal grounds of contract and legitimate interest, across the entire European Economic Area (EEA).

The decision comes in response to a request from the Norwegian Data Protection Authority (NO DPA) to take definitive measures in this matter that would apply to the entire European Economic Area (EEA).

Under this binding decision, the ban on processing will take effect one week after the notification of the final measures by the Irish Supervisory Authority to Meta Ireland Limited. It's crucial to note that the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has officially notified Meta about the EDPB's Urgent Binding Decision on October 31, 2023.

One day before, Meta announced it will offer subscription for No Ads in Europe, meaning Meta is will be able to show personalized ads to users who choose to subscribe to its ad-free service.

The EDPB acknowledged Meta's proposal to shift to a consent-based approach as a legal basis, which was reported on October 30, 2023. The Irish DPC is currently collaborating with the Concerned Supervisory Authorities (CSAs) to assess this proposal.

Anu Talus, Chair of the EDPB, emphasized the necessity of this decision, stating, "After careful consideration, the EDPB considered it necessary to instruct the Irish Supervisory Authority to impose an EEA-wide processing ban, addressed to Meta Ireland Limited. Already in December 2022, the EDPB Binding Decisions clarified that a contract is not a suitable legal basis for the processing of personal data conducted by Meta for behavioural advertising. In addition, Meta has been found by the Irish Supervisory Authority to not have demonstrated compliance with the orders imposed at the end of last year. It is high time for Meta to bring its processing into compliance and to stop unlawful processing."

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