Twitter faces investigation over perceived GDPR failings

Social media giant Twitter is under investigation by Irish online privacy authorities, after refusing a request from an academic who wanted to know how he is being tracked by the platform.

Michael Veale, a privacy researcher at the University College London, filed a report with the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) complaining that Twitter refused to give him records on what kind of data was collected on him, according to a story first published by global media organisation Fortune.

Last week the DPC informed him that it was opening an investigation. As is common with big tech firms, Twitter’s European operations are headquartered in Dublin, which is why Veale complained to Ireland.

“The DPC has initiated a formal statutory inquiry in respect of your complaint,” the watchdog said in a letter to Veale. “The inquiry will examine whether or not Twitter has discharged its obligations in connection with the subject matter of your complaint and determine whether or not any provisions of the GDPR or the [Irish Data Protection] Act have been contravened by Twitter in this respect.”

Under the latest GDPR regulations, data subjects are allowed to ask firms to provide a copy of the data they have collected. Companies found to be in breach of GDPR can be fined fees of up to €20 million, or 4% of their annual revenue, whichever is higher.

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