Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"We're based in Ireland" is an illegal argument that technology companies use to circumvent local laws and regulation of other nations

Facebook uses this argument frequently, but it isn't alone. Technology companies frequently claim that because they're based in some other country, only that country's laws/regulations hold. This is an illegal argument.

By virtue of "supplying your goods" in a country, you are automatically bound by the local laws/regulations of that country. That the "delivery mechanism" in this case happens to be the Internet doesn't in any way reduce or remove the fundamental applicability of this aforesaid principle. Not having headquarters or a local subsidiary in a particular country - say Belgium - doesn't mean that direct delivery of goods/services from the Irish headquarters implies that only Irish laws apply.

The "goods" are delivered in Belgium to Belgium citizens, and the fact that Belgium allowed - or did not disallow - Facebook to deliver certain goods/services directly to the citizens of Belgium means, implicitly, that the company delivering those goods/services is automatically bound by local laws/regulations of Belgium. Any twisting of this is merely an attempt to get around the laws and regulations of other nations.

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