Instagram mother Meta goes to High Court to challenge €405m fine over teen privacy breaches

Irish arm of IT giant Meta has claimed in the High Court that a €405m fine imposed by the Data Protection Commission (DPC) for breaching teenagers’ privacy rights is unconstitutional.

The fine was imposed last September by the DPC following an investigation it conducted into breaches of the GDPR.

In a proceeding aimed at having the fine overturned, Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd alleges certain sections of the Data Protection Act 2018, the legislation that created the DPC, are unconstitutional.

Meta claims that the large fine imposed on him amounts to a criminal sanction and the exercise of judicial powers by the DPC.

The DPC does not have the right to act in this way because it violates aspects of the constitution that affect the administration of justice, Meta claims.

She also claims that the decision against her violates both the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, including the right to a fair trial.

The plaintiff, formerly known as Facebook Ireland, is a subsidiary of US-based Meta Platforms, which owns the Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp platforms.

The Irish company is the controller and service provider for Meta’s platforms in Europe.

The case stems from the DPC investigation into Meta’s historical processing of the data of Instagram users aged 13 to 17 between May 2018 and September 2020.

The probe concerned the automatic release of mobile phone numbers and email addresses of teenage Instagram users under the default settings in the app’s “Business Account” service.

This default setting has since been changed by Instagram.

The investigation also concerned the processing of business contact information for all users, including teenagers, who chose to switch their Instagram accounts to business accounts.

The DPC is the lead supervisory authority for Meta’s cross-border processing activities.

Meta claims the DPC’s decision was unlawful, disproportionate and marred by errors of law.

It also alleges that the DPC took irrelevant decisions into account when making its decision and that it was made in violation of fair trials and the right to a fair trial.

In addition, the DPC failed to adequately justify its decision, it is further argued.

The DPC also erred in determining the total amount of the fines imposed.

You wrongly took into account Meta’s worldwide sales.

Meta claims that its turnover was not identified as a relevant factor when calculating such fines.

Fines imposed for comparable violations were not taken into account by the DPC in other investigations, it is also argued.

In its lawsuit against the DPC, Ireland and the Attorney General, Meta seeks to reverse the September 2 decision to impose 10 administrative penalties totaling €405 million on the company.

She requests that certain aspects of the action be referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling.

The matter came before Justice Charles Meenan on Monday.

The judge granted permission to pursue the lawsuit on an ex parte basis and adjourned it until next month. Instagram mother Meta goes to High Court to challenge €405m fine over teen privacy breaches

Fry Electronics Team

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