Meta hit by EU complaint over ‘undefined AI tech’ using personal data

Privacy campaigner Max Schrems called Meta's plans "a farce"

Meta hit by EU complaint over ‘undefined AI tech’ using personal data

A powerful privacy group has filed complaints in 11 EU countries about Meta’s plans to train AI models on personal data — without requesting consent from users.

NOYB (none of your business) took the legal action over proposed changes to Meta’s privacy policy, which are due to take effect on June 26. The update would permit Meta to funnel years of personal posts, private images, or online tracking data into an undefined “AI technology,” NYOB said.

The Vienna-based group warned that the Facebook owner could ingest personal data from any source. Meta could then share all the information with unspecified “third parties.”

Meta argues that it has a legitimate interest for using the data. NOYB called this claim “a farce.”

The campaigners called for privacy watchdogs to “immediately stop” this “abuse of personal data.” Their complaint escalates a lengthy feud between NOYB and Meta.

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Meta’s feud with NOYB

NOYB’s influence stems from co-founder Max Schrems, an Austrian activist and lawyer. His previous legal challenges famously brought down two EU-US agreements on cross-border data transfers.

Meta’s data harvesting has frequently come under Schrems‘ scrutiny. His latest case involves violations of the EU’s GDPR data protection rules. Such breaches are nothing new at Meta. During the first five years of the regulation, the tech giant amassed a staggering €2.5bn in GDPR fines — over half of the global total.

NOYB claims that Meta is now using AI as an excuse for future violations.

“Meta is basically saying that it can use ‘any data from any source for any purpose and make it available to anyone in the world’, as long as it’s done via ‘AI technology’,” Schrems said in a statement. “This is clearly the opposite of GDPR compliance.”

No opt-in with Meta

Meta wants to use all the public and non-public user data that the tech giant has collected since 2007, NOYB said. This includes “dormant” Facebook accounts.

The company would collect this information without an “opt-in.” Once the data enters Meta’s system, users appear to have no option of ever removing it. 

“Meta doesn’t say what it will use the data for, so it could either be a simple chatbot, extremely aggressive personalised advertising or even a killer drone,” Schrems said. “Meta also says that user data can be made available to any ‘third party’ — which means anyone in the world.”

NOYB plans to file complaints in every EU member state within the coming days. Users in these countries can register their interest in becoming a complainant via this form.

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