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EU Wins Information-Sharing Case Against Facebook

EU Wins Information-Sharing Case Against Facebook

A procedural ruling from the Irish Supreme Court this Friday could limit Facebook on its information sharing ability between the United States and Europe.

Here’s what you need to know:

In July, the European Court of Justice issued a ruling on data transfers. It was based on the understanding that Europeans have no real way to challenge government surveillance in the US.

In August, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) enforced the ruling in the form of a preliminary decision. The DPC has authority in this case because Facebook’s European HQ is located in Dublin.

The case moved forward this week when Ireland’s Supreme Court dismissed an argument from Facebook about it not having enough time to respond to the DPC’s decision.

If finalized, the decision could prohibit Facebook from sharing personal information about European users with servers in the United States.

Proponents are celebrating the ruling as one of many restrictions needed to curb the tech behemoth’s increasing power over society. Meanwhile, opponents fear it could disrupt trans-Atlantic data flows and harm the advertising industry.

“The preliminary order from the DPC is concerning as it could jeopardize data flows from Europe to the US for a wide range of companies,” argues Big Tech advocate Alexandre Roure. “Europe is unlikely to meet its digital aspirations and become a ‘world-class data hub’ if it can’t even connect with its main trading partners in the first place.”

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Ireland’s decision could affect several major tech companies subject to American surveillance laws. That includes email providers and cloud services. The decision is sure to impact Apple, Google, and Twitter – which all have HQs in Ireland. It could even require changes to US surveillance law to grant more legal rights to our European neighbors.

For Facebook, it would mean finding a new place to store information collected from European users.

Before the decision can take effect, however, the DPC needs to finalize it. It also needs to be sent to other EU privacy regulators for review. This process will take months, during which time we can expect continued appeals from Facebook.

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3 Comments

  1. John J

    Facebook violates our first amendment rights and should be shut down

  2. Rat Wrangler

    We are now in the first true Information Age, but our laws regarding anything internet-related are still in the 19th century. While this article does not actually state how Ireland’s mandate “could even require changes to US surveillance law”, it does imply rather clearly that all Facebook would have to do to avoid this law is to move its European headquarters out of Ireland. No nation can make laws that force other nations to change their laws. This should be an international matter, and no local governments should be attempting to make laws that apply to other peoples, governments, or nations. The major hacking problems we have in the U.S. don’t originate here, but in India, China, and Russia, for the most part. Most of our attempts to crack down on the hackers in their own countries have failed, because the other governments rarely allow us to pursue the cases within their borders. We need to get as many voters as we can to write to their elected representatives and request that they pass legislation regarding the legal use and disposition of all information gathered via technology, including the social media sites.

  3. Ben

    It is beyond me why an adult would want to be on social media. There is nobody I want to keep in touch with that I don’t already keep in touch with.
    Facebook does NOT violate your first amendment rights. They are a PRIVATE company. You have a fundamental misunderstanding of the first amendment of you think they do. Think gay wedding cakes, “no shirt, no service”, or terms of service. If you can’t get the basics of the first amendment right, you lose a lot of credibility.

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