As per a report, Facebook is pushing its UK users out of the European Union’s tight privacy protections. In the coming months, users of the social media platforms, Instagram and WhatsApp, will now have to sign a Terms of Service Agreement with the California headquarters of Facebook rather than its European branch in the Republic of Ireland. Moving user agreements to the US ensures that data policies designed to comply with the strict EU privacy protection regime would no longer protect UK users.
This update is identical to the one created earlier this year by Google. It is intended to prevent a circumstance where UK residents are no longer European Union residents but have agreements based in an EU country where Facebook is subject to EU data protection law. The United Kingdom’s data protection laws, which now complement the EU’s GDPR, will also safeguard users.
Some UK proponents of privacy are worried that if it is outside the EU, the UK will potentially lose its privacy laws.
“[t]he bigger the company, the more personal data they hold, the more they are likely to be subject to surveillance duties or requirements to hand over data to the U.S. government,” the executive director of Open Rights Group said.
Sorrows are not based on nothing. In 2018, the US approved the CLOUD Act, making it easier for the US government to share the data of US corporations with overseas law enforcement agencies (which UK agencies would count as).
The matter of negotiation is still there on the part of EU privacy protection. Since the United Kingdom will no longer be involved in the trade deals of the EU, the country will have to begin making its own and privacy advocates are concerned about what safeguards the United States may ask for in negotiations.
The United Kingdom branch of Facebook assured that “there will be no change to the privacy controls or the services Facebook offers to people in the UK,” but Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram users will again have to adhere to the terms of service that Facebook will demand them to do sometime in the next six months.