Eire rejects Fb bid to dam regulatory information probe
Activists have been tracking Facebook via EU data transfers to the US for years
The Irish High Court on Friday rejected Facebook’s offer to block an investigation that could potentially halt data transfers from the European Union to the US.
“I reject all the alleviations requested by (Facebook Ireland) and reject the claims made by him in the proceedings,” said a statement from High Court Judge David Barniville, in which he challenged the decision of the data protection officer, a To conduct an investigation.
Facebook’s European headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, and the DPC is the company’s leading regulator in the EU.
The U.S. tech titan wasn’t immediately available for comment when AFP approached him about the Friday news.
The Irish regulator opened its investigation last summer after a ruling by the EU Supreme Court on Facebook invalidated a key online data agreement between Europe and the US.
“The DPC has decided to initiate an investigation of its own accord … to examine whether Facebook Ireland Ltd’s actions to transfer personal data in relation to individuals in the European Union / European Economic Area are lawful and whether corrective powers are required to be exercised by the DPC in this regard, “said the judicial statement.
The previous EU decision in July 2020 arose out of a legal complaint by Austrian activist Max Schrems, who failed in an earlier EU-US deal in 2015 that technology giants depend on for business.
Schrems had forced the Irish regulator to try to block transatlantic data transmissions after the EU ruling.
The DPC has tried for several years to block such transmissions, arguing that they are “inherently problematic” for privacy reasons.
Facebook objected to the DPC’s investigation, arguing that it acted “unlawfully” when the investigation started.
The US company added that the decision was made without additional guidance from the Court of Justice of the European Union or the European Data Protection Board.
“Facebook Ireland has questioned the DPC’s decision to open the investigation for a number of reasons,” the High Court said.
Judge Barniville, however, dismissed Facebook’s arguments.
Schrems meanwhile speculated that such data transfers might be blocked by the DPC within months.
“The Irish regulator gets the green light for probes that could stop Facebook data,” tweeted Schrems.
“Now (the DPC) this could come out the door within two months of nearly eight years of procedure,” he added.
Brussels and Washington hope, however, through a recently thawed thaw, to conclude a pact that will enable the exchange of private data across the Atlantic.
Such an agreement would replace previous agreements made by the EU court.
Facebook, Google, Microsoft and thousands of other companies would like such an agreement to keep internet traffic flowing without putting European data protection laws in significant legal jeopardy.
According to the groundbreaking General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in 2018, social media users have a broader range of rights in relation to their data.
Regulators like the DPC have been given new powers, including the ability to fine companies up to four percent of their annual global sales.
Facebook may have to stop moving EU user data to the US
© 2021 AFP
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