SHARE: Complaints against 16 global tech companies
On Thursday, October 1, SHARE Foundation’s legal team filed misdemeanor complaints against 16 global tech corporations following their failure to appoint representatives in Serbia for more than a year, as is mandated by the Law on Personal Data Protection.
Companies that own platforms for providing various services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Netflix or Airbnb, process huge amounts of Serbian citizens’ personal data, while citizens are not able to directly exercise their rights, and are instead left to engage in automated communication with robots.
Last fall when the new data protection law came into force, SHARE Foundation launched a campaign to inform citizens about their rights, as well as companies about their obligations. The first misdemeanor charges were filed against Google and Facebook. After a long correspondence with the Serbian Data Protection Commissioner, Google LLC was the first and so far the only company among the tech giants that appointed its representative in Serbia. Mark Zuckerberg’s corporation did not oblige the Commissioner with an answer.
Thanks to Google’s representative in Serbia, we were recently able to record the first domestic case of a successfully realised right to be forgotten. Of the “smaller” global corporations, the representative in Serbia was appointed by the owner of the commercial flight search service eSky, while the Dutch owner of the Serbian-language platform KupujemProdajem already had a local representative.
Misdemeanor complaints were filed with the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection, authorised to initiate an inspection procedure and impose fines in the amount of 100.000 Serbian dinars (RSD) for the company and 20.000 RSD for its director in case there is a violation of the law.
Unlike the European General Data Protection Regulation, based on which our law was written, the fines in Serbia are symbolic, especially for global companies that make unimaginable profits off of the data of citizens around the world. However, we believe that they would show that the competent authorities of the Republic of Serbia apply the law that protects our citizens when companies do not operate in accordance with domestic regulations.