Facebook Faces Prospect of Data Transfer Ban After Irish Ruling

Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram All Down for Users Around the World


Ireland’s information regulator can resume a probe that will set off a ban on Facebook’s transatlantic information transfers, the High Court dominated on Friday, elevating the prospect of a stoppage that the corporate warns would have a devastating influence on its enterprise.

The case stems from EU issues that US authorities surveillance might not respect the privateness rights of EU residents when their private information is shipped to the United States for industrial use.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), Facebook’s lead regulator within the European Union, launched an inquiry in August and issued a provisional order that the principle mechanism Facebook makes use of to switch EU consumer information to the United States “cannot in practice be used”.

Facebook had challenged each the inquiry and the Preliminary Draft Decision (PDD), saying they threatened “devastating” and “irreversible” penalties for its enterprise, which depends on processing consumer information to serve focused on-line adverts.

The High Court rejected the problem on Friday.

“I refuse all of the reliefs sought by FBI (Facebook Ireland) and dismiss the claims made by it in the proceedings,” Justice David Barniville mentioned in a judgment that ran to almost 200 pages.

“FBI has not established any basis for impugning the DPC decision or the PDD or the procedures for the inquiry adopted by the DPC,” the judgment mentioned.

While the choice doesn’t set off an instantaneous halt to information flows, Austrian privateness activist Max Schrems, who compelled the Irish information regulator to behave in a collection of authorized actions over the previous eight years, mentioned he believed the choice made it inevitable.

“After eight years, the DPC is now required to stop Facebook’s EU-U.S. data transfers, likely before summer,” he mentioned.

A Facebook spokesman mentioned the corporate appeared ahead to defending its compliance with EU information guidelines because the Irish regulator’s provisional order “could be damaging not only to Facebook, but also to users and other businesses”.

Privileged Access

If the Irish information regulator enforces the provisional order, it could successfully finish the privileged entry corporations within the United States have to private information from Europe and put them on the identical footing as corporations in different nations exterior the bloc.

The mechanism being questioned by the Irish regulator, the Standard Contractual Clause (SCC), was deemed legitimate by the European Court of Justice in a July resolution.

But the Court of Justice additionally dominated that, below SCCs, privateness watchdogs should droop or prohibit transfers exterior the EU if information safety in different international locations can’t be assured.

A lawyer for Facebook in December instructed the High Court that the Irish regulator’s draft resolution, if carried out, “would have devastating consequences” for Facebook’s enterprise, impacting Facebook’s 410 million energetic customers in Europe, hit political teams and undermine freedom of speech.

Irish Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon in February mentioned corporations extra broadly might face large disruption to transatlantic information flows because of the European Court of Justice resolution.

Dixon’s workplace welcomed the choice on Friday, however declined additional remark.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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