Facebook Faces Prospect of ‘Devastating’ Data Transfer Ban After Irish Court Ruling

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Eire’s knowledge regulator can resume a probe that will set off a ban on Fb’s transatlantic knowledge transfers, the Excessive Courtroom 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 could not respect the privateness rights of EU residents when their private knowledge is shipped to the US for business use.

Eire’s Knowledge Safety Commissioner (DPC), Facebook‘s lead regulator within the European Union, launched an inquiry in August and issued a provisional order that the primary mechanism Fb makes use of to switch EU consumer knowledge to the US “can not in observe be used”. Fb had challenged each the inquiry and the Preliminary Draft Resolution (PDD), saying they threatened “devastating” and “irreversible” penalties for its enterprise, which depends on processing consumer knowledge to serve focused on-line advertisements.

The Excessive Courtroom rejected the problem on Friday. “I refuse all the reliefs sought by FBI (Fb Eire) and dismiss the claims made by it within the proceedings,” Justice David Barniville mentioned in a judgment that ran to almost 200 pages. “FBI has not established any foundation for impugning the DPC choice or the PDD or the procedures for the inquiry adopted by the DPC,” the judgment mentioned.

Whereas the choice doesn’t set off a right away halt to knowledge flows, Austrian privateness activist Max Schrems, who pressured the Irish knowledge 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 cease Fb’s EU-U.S. knowledge transfers, possible earlier than summer season,” he mentioned.

A Fb spokesman mentioned the corporate seemed ahead to defending its compliance with EU knowledge guidelines because the Irish regulator’s provisional order “may very well be damaging not solely to Fb, but additionally to customers and different companies”.

Privileged Entry

If the Irish knowledge regulator enforces the provisional order, it could successfully finish the privileged entry corporations in the US have to non-public knowledge 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 Customary Contractual Clause (SCC), was deemed legitimate by the European Courtroom of Justice in a July choice.

However the Courtroom of Justice additionally dominated that, below SCCs, privateness watchdogs should droop or prohibit transfers exterior the EU if knowledge safety in different nations can’t be assured. A lawyer for Fb in December informed the Excessive Courtroom that the Irish regulator’s draft choice, if applied, “would have devastating penalties” for Fb’s enterprise, impacting Fb’s 410 million lively customers in Europe, hit political teams and undermine freedom of speech. Irish Knowledge Safety Commissioner Helen Dixon in February mentioned corporations extra broadly could face large disruption to transatlantic knowledge flows on account of the European Courtroom of Justice choice.

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

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