Facebook seeks to block a decision by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission that could stop the flow of user data across the Atlantic.
The Irish High Court has ignored Facebook’s efforts to block a decision that could suspend the transfer of data between the EU and the US.
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) ordered Facebook, in a draft decision, to suspend the transfer of data between the two jurisdictions last year. The move comes in the wake of a decision from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that repealed the transatlantic Privacy Shield data transfer mechanism.
Facebook sought a judicial review against this DPC decision but it was rejected today (May 14) by the High Court.
This means the DPC can now proceed with an inquiry into Facebook that could lead to a suspension of transatlantic data flows. It also means that DPC already has two open transatlantic data transfer methods.
“Facebook has lost every ground. Its attempt to re-delay Ireland’s decision only bought them a few months. Eight years later, the DPC is now required to stop Facebook’s EU-US data transfer, most likely before the summer. Now we have two procedures instead of one, “said Max Schrems, the privacy campaigner who took the preliminary case that led to the Privacy Shield eviction.
The implications of the High Court decision can be extensive.
The Privacy Shield agreement has been broken by EU courts in large part because of different rules around data protection in the US and EU. This means that when a European’s data is transferred to the US, there are little or no protections in place for that data of a similar European standard.
Cillian Kieran, chief executive of data security startup Ethyca, said Facebook’s “comprehensive loss” today shows how difficult it can be to move data internationally.
“The decision shows that more than ever, the U.S. needs federal privacy regulation. Every day without it, U.S. businesses are losing their footing in the global marketplace,” he said.
“The EU continues to set standards for privacy around the world, while the US is playing an expensive chase game. It’s important to their bottom line and to their international status.”
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