EU Creates Social Media Working Group To Observe Data Harvesting

European Union privacy watchdogs are responding to the Facebook data scandal by taking a closer look at the harvesting of personal data from social media sites for economic or political purposes.

“A multi-billion dollar social media platform saying it is sorry simply is not enough,” Andrea Jelinek, chair of the group of EU data protection authorities, said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The decision comes after it was revealed that U.K.-based political firm Cambridge Analytica improperly collected personal data from 87 million Facebook users and reportedly used it to help elect U.S. President Donald Trump.

“This is why we are creating a Social Media Working Group. What we are seeing today is most likely only one instance of the much wider spread practice of harvesting personal data from social media for economic or political reasons,” Jelinek said after a two-day meeting of the regulators.

The group still has to create a long-term strategy, but did not include any details on what steps it was going to take.

Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is leading the European probe into the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

On May 25, the EU's landmark data protection regulations will go into effect. The EU Data Protection Reform establishes fundamental rights for citizens, modern guidelines and rules for businesses and benefits for companies of all sizes.

“These new pan-European rules are good for citizens and good for businesses. Citizens and businesses will profit from clear rules that are fit for the digital age, that give strong protection and, at the same time, create opportunities and encourage innovation in a European Digital Single Market,” Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová explained.

“And harmonized data protection rules for police and criminal justice authorities will ease law enforcement cooperation between Member States based on mutual trust, contributing to the European Agenda for Security,” Jourová added.



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