Doron Goldstein, co-head of Katten's Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice, was interviewed by Corporate Counsel regarding the recent €110 million fine received by Facebook Inc. from the European Commission for providing allegedly misleading statements about its 2014 purchase of WhatsApp, and what it means for American companies, private practice lawyers and corporate expansion into Europe. He also addressed how Europe's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—EU-wide data protection rules that come into effect in May 2018—plays a role in more aggressive enforcement efforts.
Regarding the Facebook fine, Doron said, "There are two interesting lessons from this. It shows the concern the European Commission has for privacy issues that this became a big enough issue within the competition bureau to levy this type of fine. The second is that it shows a very clear trend on the part of the European Commission to very actively enforce privacy-related issues and to start going for aggressive fines." What does this signal for American companies with headquarters in Europe or those considering a move into the marketplace? " . . . there are now going to be real fines [up to the greater of €20 million or 4 percent of global turnover for violations of the GDPR] . . . fines they have the ability to impose," he explained. It also means that "operating even just in the US, we have to be able to take those things into account; we have to prepare our clients for the fact that if they want to do things that have an external US element, they have to plan early." ("Facebook Fine Could Slow Future EU Launches," May 23, 2017. This interview was also published in the New York Law Journal and The Recorder, May 23, 2017.)