Facebook has failed to prevent its feud with an Austrian privacy activist over the legality of two widely used mechanisms for transferring data between the European Union and the U.S., from reaching the EU Court of Justice.
In a May 2nd ruling, the Irish High Court sided with activist Max Schrems and the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, rejecting Facebook’s request to stay the court’s October 2017 referral of the case to the EU Court of Justice to give the company time to appeal the referral to the Irish Supreme Court.
The decision carries with it potential consequences for thousands of international companies that use model contracts and Privacy Shield for transatlantic data transfers.
Schrems filed a grievance over Facebook’s use of model contracts with the Irish Data Commissioner in 2015 saying that Facebook failed to protect EU citizens’ data from the prying eyes of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
The Data Commissioner referred the case to the Irish High Court in May 2016 after determining the compliant was “well founded.” The Irish High Court expanded the scope to include Privacy Shield in its 2017 decision to refer the matter to the EU Court of Justice.
In 2015, the EU Court of Justice invalidated the Safe Harbor accord, then a widely used mechanism for transferring data between the EU and U.S., ruling it failed to adequately protect the privacy of EU citizens. Privacy Shield was created to replace Safe Harbor. Details via Reuters, Fortune and Bloomberg.