back to article Norway bans Meta's behavioral advertising with threats of wrist-slap fines

Norwegian data protection authorities have temporarily banned Meta from tracking users for the purposes of serving ads, and threatened the US company with fines of one million Kroner per day if it doesn't comply. Before you start cackling like Dr Evil, that's about $100K. Meta will not be too concerned about the impact on its …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Norway isn't in the EU.

    1. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: CJEU?

      Sort of. The EU is a complex thing, what with everyone pushing and pulling to get as much as possible while giving as little as possible. A country can be in for some aspects, and out for others. In the case of Norway, my guess is that maybe they are not subject to the CJEU, but they still take its rulings in high consideration and, in this case, as a strong indicator that they should take action. Or, alternatively, they may be "in" with regards to data protection, which requires abiding by CJEU rulings on that topic. Or maybe CJEU compliance comes with the EEA agreement, I'm not sure. Point is, "not in the EU" is true, but also an oversimplification.

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: CJEU?

        Norway is NOT a member of the EU.

        Norway IS a member of the EEA

        This is not complicated.

        1. Filippo Silver badge

          Re: CJEU?

          Maybe, but the OP, presumably a regular person just like you and me, seems to be confused by this. And if you look at the comments page on pretty much anything to do with EU jurisdiction, you'll find that's just one of many, many mistakes regular people make on the topic of which treaties apply to which countries.

          So, yeah, it's not rocket science, but it's not as obvious as "people in France are subject to French courts" either, or as "all countries in the EU share the exact same treaties".

          More to the point, it's a complexity that politicians love to exploit to spread confusion or outright lies, when it suits them. Therefore, I think there's merit in reminding people to double check exactly which treaties apply to which countries, when trying to understand European affairs.

        2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

          Re: CJEU?

          The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has explainers (in English).

          Norway and the EU - 10 facts about the EEA

          Norway and the EU - The EEA Agreement

          The confusing bit is that although Norway is a member of the internal market of the EU aka the 'single market', it is not in a customs union with the EU, so Norway can negotiate its own trade deals, and apply different customs tariffs to goods. An example of this is tariffs on cheese. EU cheese producers are free to sell cheese in Norway - they don't need phytosanitary checks at the border etc. However, in response to lobbying by Norwegian farmers, a tariff of 277% was imposed on imported cheese, which EU producers did not like.

          News in EU blasts Norway’s protectionism

          The UK, subsequent to its withdrawal from the EU, negotiated a separate agreement with Norway, which reduced the tariffs on certain types of Cheddar, Caerphilly, and Wensleydale (I am not making this up).

          The London Economic: Brexit: UK-Norway trade deal cuts tariffs on cheese but won’t remove ‘trade barriers’

          In principle, the UK could have aimed for a 'Norway deal': i.e. be a member of the EEA, but not the EU; but Norway wasn't keen on the idea.

          The Guardian: Take it from a Norwegian MP: we don’t want Britain in the EEA

          Norway is not directly subject to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), but through the EEA agreement the EFTA states have their own court and surveillance bodies - The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) and the EFTA Court, and the EFTA court abides by decision of the CJEU.

          the EFTA Court shall follow the relevant case law of the ECJ on provisions of Union law that are identical in substance to provisions of EEA law rendered prior to the date of signature of the EEA Agreement (2 May 1992) and shall pay due account to the principles laid down by the European Court of Justice's relevant case law rendered after that date. The EFTA Court's jurisprudence is in fact based on the case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

          So even if the UK had 'joined' the EEA, there would still have been a supranational court, aligned with the CJEU, administering the common law applying to the EEA/EFTA members.

          So yes, it's not especially complicated.

    2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: CJEU?

      It sort of is and sort of isn't. As I found out when I ordered something from there. Single market for me in future, thanks.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good for Norway

    But guys, just don’t use these invasive “services”, period.



    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good for Norway

      Health, education.and even general utilities are now sharing everything with Facebook and anyone else that pads the politicians pockets.

  3. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    Said it before will say it again, just ban third party advertising. It will solve or significantly improve so many problems, i wont bore you with a big list, im sure everyone can think of a few problems that grow into far larger problems because of advertising.

  4. Spacedinvader
    Thumb Up

    Easy fix

    "threatened the US company with fines of one million Kroner per day..."

    per person

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "0.16 percent of Meta's Q1 2023 profit"

    So, Meta makes over $5.5 billion per quarter for nothing good or wholesome.

    No wonder ad services are considered the holy grail. Anybody who wants to make money wants ads to fling left, right and center.

    Actually providing a service worthy of subscription is so last milennia . . .

  6. SVD_NL Bronze badge


    Metaversian: "there is no immediate impact to our services."

    English: "We don't and won't care"

  7. Tubz Silver badge

    $100K a day may not seem like a lot to Meta if they just ignore the ruling but if they review and find they are deliberately ignoring, whose to say that goes up to $1m a day or more, soon starts to hurt bottom line.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Norway only has 5 million people. (In total. No idea how many of them use Facebook, but it's unlikely to be more than that.) How much money do you think Meta makes out of advertising to them?

      A million kroner a day is real money and will substantially affect Meta's profits in that country. It won't beggar the global company, obviously, but it will make them look for different ways of doing things at least in Norway. Which is the objective.

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      Exactly - the 100K is not a fee to allow this behaviour, it's a fine for behaviour which is not allowed. They are supposed to pay the fine for the times they did it AND STOP DOING IT.

      If they don't stop, further action should be taken (I don't know if the law in question enables this).

  8. MOH

    Luckily the Irish data protection office has a long history of leveraging massive fines against multinationals who blatantly abuse data privacy, with no possible suggestion that those same companies contribute huge tax and employment benefits.

    Nothing to see here.

  9. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Scale of values

    I do wonder if regulators (across sectors and around the world) are still thinking in terms of normal companies doing good old fashioned making of stuff. Rather than enormous multi-national megacorps making insane amounts of money by skimming across everyone's lives.

    There is a general, popular confusion between a lot of money for myself and a lot of money for a multinational (or a nation).

    To me and the rest of the public a million quid is a fair chunk of money and mufti-millions seems an incredible amount. But to corporates and nations it's a rounding error.

    I wonder if the regulators are still thinking like the public, ditto politicians. and whether this is deliberate because they know that the public will fall for it and their friends in wealthy places won't be bothered.

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