Web privacy activist files combined $8.8 billion complaints against Facebook and Google

Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems filed several multi-billion euro complaints in courts around Europe against Google (Android), Facebook, and two Facebook subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram [complaints, PDF] Friday—the same day as EU data protection laws, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) [official website], went into effect.

Combined, the lawsuits seek to fine a total 6.7 billion euro (€3.9 billion against Facebook, €3.7 billion against Google), or around USD $8.8 billion.

Schrems’ activist group named noyb, for “none of your business,” argues in an organization statement [press release] that these companies practice “forced consent,” which is prohibited by the GDPR:

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force today at midnight is supposed to give users a free choice, whether they agree to data usage or not. The opposite feeling spread on the screens of many users: Tons of “consent boxes” popped up online or in applications, often combined with a threat, that the service cannot longer be used if users do not consent.