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Parliamentary questions
PDF 107kWORD 19k
3 January 2019
E-000001-19
Question for written answer E-000001-19
to the Commission
Rule 130
Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE)

 Subject:  Follow up to Written Question P-004313-18 and further evidence of apps sharing personal data with Facebook without user consent — GDPR and Article 5(3) of Directive 2002/58/EC
 Answer in writing 

Some of the most popular apps for Android smartphones, including Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and MyFitnessPal, are transmitting data to Facebook without the consent of users. In a study of 34 popular Android apps, the campaign group Privacy International found that at least 20 of them send certain data to Facebook the second that they are opened on a phone, before users can be asked for permission(1) (2).

Moreover, Facebook can also use the data to cross-target multiple people — for example, if a married couple use apps on the same WiFi, or at the same location, their Android IDs can be tied together to target similar advertising to both of them(3).

All this seems in flagrant violation of both the GDPR and Article 5(3) of Directive 2002/58/EC(4).

1. Is the Commission aware of this new evidence, and has Commissioner Jourova raised it with Facebook executives during her meetings?

With the big tech giants continuing to make billions from our personal data and, most critically, still playing around with competition and privacy authorities:
2. Has the Commission started thinking in terms of the economic value of personal data(5) when assessing mergers and antitrust cases(6)?
3. Is it considering both increasing fines so as to provide a greater deterrent (these are but a laughing stock for big tech monopolies), and re-notifying on mergers, such as the Facebook-WhatsApp deal(7), where necessary(8)?

(1)https://www.ft.com/content/62f74704-0abf-11e9-9fe8-acdb36967cfc
(2)https://www.lesechos.fr/tech-medias/hightech/0600436945410-ces-applications-android-qui-partagent-vos-donnees-avec-facebook-2233179.php
(3)https://www.ft.com/content/62f74704-0abf-11e9-9fe8-acdb36967cfc
(4)http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/P-8-2018-004313-ASW_EN.html
(5)https://www.computerweekly.com/opinion/Understanding-the-economic-value-of-your-personal-data
(6)https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2018/2/224626-the-war-over-the-value-of-personal-data/fulltext
(7)https://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2014/10/06/facebook-closes-19-billion-whatsapp-deal/#2e588a745c66
(8)https://twitter.com/tomvalletti/status/1079694283878350848?s=11

Last updated: 18 January 2019Legal notice