DPC failure to calculate Meta's revenue cost Irish taxpayers €3.97 billion

18/01/2023 | NOYB

If you read the recent Meta decisions published by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and Austrian privacy group NOYB acting unofficially on behalf of the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), you may have noticed that the EDPB asked the DPC to calculate how much money Meta made from illegal data collection practices since May 2018. You will have also noticed that instead of complying with this request, the DPC declined and instead blamed the EDPB for not being specific, stating, "no directions have been provided by the EDPB, in its Article 65 Decision, as to the manner in which the Commission [DPC] might seek to ascertain, on an objectively justifiable basis, an estimation of the financial benefit gained from an infringement such as the one under assessment." 

Well, the good people at NOYB have performed their own quick analyses. Pointing out that the DPC chose to ignore a 2/3 majority vote of all EU data protection authorities requiring it to do so, NOYB estimates the DPC saved Meta €3.97 billion. Instead, the DPC reluctantly issued a €390 million fine after the EDPB overruled the DPC. 

In response to this latest development, Max Schrems said: "We all know about Meta's enormous revenue. It's astonishing that this was not taken into account by the DPC. The DPC didn't even use its statutory powers to ask Meta for the information." He went on to say, "I am sure the Irish taxpayers would not mind having that extra cash, if a DPC employee would have just opened a search engine and done some research."

An article in The Irish Times on Saturday reported that the DPC's stance on calculating the level of profits Meta made based on its illegal data collection practices could have deprived the Irish exchequer of a multi-billion windfall. So it's possible to conclude that they may well mind.

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