DUBLIN (Reuters) – Facebook’s lead regulator in the European Union expects that with the conclusion of the first of seven inquiries into the company’s use of personal data this summer, the rest by the end of the year, the irish Data Protection Commissioner said on Thursday.
FILE PHOTO: The entrance sign to Facebook headquarters is seen in Menlo Park, California, on Wednesday 10 October 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo
The commissioner’s office last year launched three investigations into aspects of a massive cyber attack where hackers have stolen login codes that allowed them to get access to almost 50 million Facebook accounts, including 3 million in Europe.
Since then it has launched a separate probe into a large number of other violations, including Facebook’s disclosure in December that a bug may have been exposed private photos to 6.8 million users.
The other probes relating to complaints from users in relation to the way Facebook processes personal data.
“We are looking at different aspects of the collection, transparency and use of data” on Facebook, Commissioner Helen Dixon told irish RTE radio in an interview.
“I think the first of them will possibly conclude during the summer – that is our expectation – and, further, the research will be completed in the latter part of the year,” she said.
The auditor is also probing Facebook subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram as Twitter , LinkedIn, and Apple with regard to the processing of personal data and the transparency of their data and processes.
All questions must by the “decision and adjudications phase later this year,” Dixon wrote in her office’s annual report, which was published on Thursday.
Ireland hosts the European headquarters of a number of AMERICAN technology companies. Under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) “One Stop Shop”, the Irish commissioner is also the lead regulator for Microsoft, Dropbox , AirBnb, and Yelp.
In order to monitor the increased workload, the office of the auditor expects to hire 50 employees in 2019 to bring in a total of approximately 165, the annual report said.
Reporting by Conor Humphries; editing by Jason Neely and Elaine Hardcastle