New European privacy rule represents huge change

A new European data privacy rule finalized Tuesday will have major repercussions for U.S. tech companies that do business there, say experts.


Among the most eye-popping parts of the new directive are fines of up to 4% of a company’s global gross revenue if it doesn’t adequately inform users what information about them it is collecting and what it plans to do with it.


After explaining its plans clearly, and in multiple languages, the user “must give their explicit consent to the use of their data,” Jan Philipp Albrecht, the lead member of the European Parliament on the regulation, said in a statement.


While companies are unlikely to be hit with the full fine amount except for the most egregious privacy breaches, the numbers are still staggering.


For Alphabet (GOOGL), Google’s parent company, the fines could reach $2.4 billion. For Facebook (FB), it could mean fines of $500 million, for Apple (AAPL) $9.3 billion, and Microsoft (MSFT) $3.7 billion.


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