Brazil’s CADE to Investigate Meta’s* Data Usage

Brazil’s CADE to Investigate Meta’s* Data Usage
Photo: Reuters 08.07.2024 311

The regulator will decide whether a full investigation is required following a preparatory administrative inquiry.

Brazil’s antitrust watchdog CADE has initiated an investigation into Meta’s (*along with Facebook and  Instagram banned and designated as extremist in Russia) use of consumer data for training artificial intelligence. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is under scrutiny in what is termed a “preparatory administrative inquiry,” the first phase to determine whether there are grounds to continue the investigation or dismiss it.

This move comes a day after the National Data Protection Authority (ANPD) issued a preventive measure against Meta, following recent changes to its privacy policy. The CADE’s action was prompted by a complaint from the Brazilian Institute of Consumer Defense (IDEC), alleging abuse of dominant market position by Meta.

IDEC contends that, unlike in Europe, Meta failed to inform Brazilian users that it would use publicly collected personal data from Facebook and Instagram for AI training. The institute argues that while the service is free, the consumer relationship exists as the use of the platform brings indirect financial benefits to the company.

IDEC has asked CADE to investigate Facebook and Instagram for offenses related to market dominance, arbitrary profit increases, abusive dominance, and practices that limit market access for new companies, hindering competitors, suppliers, buyers, or financiers.

CADE’s technical team has requested clarifications from Meta, owned by American businessman Mark Zuckerberg. Failure to provide the requested information or documents could result in a daily fine of R$5,000, which may be increased up to 20 times.

“IDEC is closely monitoring unilateral changes in privacy policies by big techs that negatively impact consumers,”

said Camila Contri, coordinator of IDEC’s Telecommunications and Digital Rights program. 

Ms. Contri advocates for broader regulation of digital platforms, although she acknowledges that authorities already have the legal authority to curb abuses.

“What shocked us was that this policy change also occurred in Brazil without the same notification given to European citizens,” 

Ms. Contri added. She noted that for users to opt out of the new policy, they must navigate through seven “non-intuitive” pages.

IDEC believes that CADE’s and ANPD’s actions, along with the National Consumer Secretariat’s (SENACON) notification, encourage debate on regulating big techs’ power.

“An individual authority might tackle part of the problem, but a structural solution must consider consumer rights, data protection, economic power, and the impact on fundamental rights,” 

Ms. Contri stated. Often, authorities remain siloed in their technicalities, lacking a “holistic view that these abuses significantly impact people’s lives,” she concluded.

Source:  Valor International

digital markets  Brazil 

Share with friends

Related content