NEWS9 July 2019

European court to hear Facebook data transfer case

Europe News Privacy Technology

EUROPE – The Court of Justice of the European Union is to begin hearing a case involving the Irish Data Protection Commission and Facebook over how user data is transferred from the EU to the US.


The case will examine the validity of Facebook data transfers to the US.

The Irish data protection commissioner is to argue that the legal mechanism for such transfers does not sufficiently protect European citizens’ right to privacy.

The case follows a 2013 challenge from Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, over the previous mechanism for data transfers between Europe and the US – Safe Harbour.

Since then, Facebook has used a mechanism called ‘standard contractual clauses’ or SCCs.

In the latest case, the DPC and Schrems say that US surveillance laws violate rights to privacy, data protection, and redress under European law. 

Jack Gilbert, associate general counsel for Facebook, told the BBC: "Standard contractual clauses provide important safeguards to ensure that Europeans’ data are protected once transferred overseas.

"SCCs have been designed and endorsed by the European Commission and enable thousands of Europeans to do business worldwide."