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Leonid Bershidsky

Europe Gets New Privacy Rules. Tech Giants Shrug.

Google, Facebook and others have decided to take a gamble on defending their data collection practices in the courts.

Taking on the giants.

Taking on the giants.

Photographer: Joe Klamar/AFP

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation has been in effect for less than a week. It was always clear that a vast number of companies would comply in only the most perfunctory way, at least while the law was being tested. But the big tech companies, sure to face scrutiny, were expected to show a little more rigor. Instead, they appear to be hoping that they won’t get caught or that their lawyers will take care of any complaints.

Most consumers don’t have the time or expertise to complain about shoddy GDPR compliance. Max Schrems, the Austrian lawyer who has waged a privacy crusade against Facebook since 2011, does. His nonprofit group NOYB (None of Your Business), has filed complaints with privacy regulators against Google, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Schrems has a pretty good idea of the corners these services are trying to cut when it comes to GDPR compliance.