Ireland’s knowledge regulator can resume a probe which will set off a ban on Facebook’s transatlantic knowledge transfers, the High Court dominated on Friday, elevating the prospect of a stoppage that the corporate warns would have a devastating impression 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 knowledge is distributed 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 primary mechanism Facebook makes use of to switch EU consumer knowledge 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 knowledge to serve focused on-line advertisements.
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 just about 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 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 stop Facebook’s EU-U.S. data transfers, likely before summer,” he mentioned.
A Facebook spokesman mentioned the corporate regarded ahead to defending its compliance with EU knowledge guidelines because the Irish regulator’s provisional order “could be damaging not only to Facebook, but also to users and other businesses”.
If the Irish knowledge regulator enforces the provisional order, it might successfully finish the privileged entry firms within the United States have to non-public knowledge from Europe and put them on the identical footing as firms in different nations outdoors 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 choice.
But the Court of Justice additionally dominated that, beneath SCCs, privateness watchdogs should droop or prohibit transfers outdoors the EU if knowledge safety in different nations can’t be assured.
A lawyer for Facebook in December advised the High Court that the Irish regulator’s draft choice, if applied, “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 firms extra broadly might face large disruption to transatlantic knowledge flows on account of the European Court of Justice choice.
Dixon’s workplace welcomed the choice on Friday, however declined additional remark.
© Thomson Reuters 2021