Ireland opens GDPR investigation into the Facebook leak

Facebook’s, Europe’s top data supervisor in the European Union, has launched an investigation into whether the technology giant violated data protection rules after information leaked earlier this month. The Irish Data Protection Commission’s statement here:

“The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has launched a self-assessment investigation under Section 110 of the Data Protection Act 2018 relating to multiple international media reports, highlighting that a collated dataset of Facebook user personal information was made available on the Internet. The dataset contains personal information about approximately 533 million Facebook users worldwide. The DPC was involved with Facebook Ireland in this reported issue, raising questions about GDPR compliance, to which Facebook Ireland responded several times. Considering the information provided by Facebook Ireland to date in this regard, the DPC has expressed the view that there may be one or more provisions of the GDPR and / or Data Protection Act 2018, and / or related violations of the personal information of Facebook users.

Accordingly, it is appropriate to determine whether Facebook Ireland has complied with its obligations as a regulator of its user data in processing the personal data of users through the features of Facebook Search, Facebook Messenger Contact Importer and Instagram Contact Importer. Any provisions (s) of 2018 have been violated by Facebook in this case and / or whether.” Facebook has contacted for comment. Update: The Company did not make a statement but confirmed that it had contacted regulators to answer their questions. Update 2: Facebook has now sent this statement:

“We are fully cooperating with IDPC’s investigation, which is related to features that make it easier to find and communicate with friends on our services. These features are common to many applications and we look forward to explaining them and the protections we put in place.”

The move comes after the European Commission intervened to put pressure on Ireland’s data protection commissioner. Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders tweeted on Monday that he had spoken to Helen Dixon about the Facebook leak. “The Commission is pursuing this case closely and is committed to supporting the national authorities,” he added, urging Facebook to “actively and expeditiously co-operate on identified issues”.