Facebook privacy case referred to European Court of Justice

A data transfer case with potentially huge ramifications for EU trade with the US has been referred to Europe's highest court.

It centres on whether personal information can be sent between the jurisdictions by companies like social networking site Facebook.

Austrian lawyer and campaigner Max Schrems has claimed his privacy rights as an EU citizen have been breached through the transfer of his data by Facebook Ireland to US parent company Facebook Inc. In the US it is subject to mass surveillance laws, Mr Schrems has said.

Facebook's European headquarters is in Ireland, bringing it within Irish legal jurisdiction.

The Republic's Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, took action at the High Court in Dublin, urging the transfer of the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.

She has concerns about the impact on fundamental European rights of sharing of the information with US firms.

After a five-and-a-half-week hearing earlier this year, judge Ms Justice Caroline Costello said: "I therefore have decided to ask the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling on the validity of the SCC (standard contractual clauses) decisions."

The European judges, who interpret EU law, will now be asked to rule on European Commission decisions approving methods of sending information known as standard contractual clauses.

Max Schrems leaves the High Court in Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire


More in this Section

Three die in separate incidents; Schools closed again tomorrow as over 350,000 without power

Pensioner ignores warnings to take the plunge as Ophelia sweeps in

Charlie Haughey to get his own Netflix 'thriller'

Court to hear tomorrow if any further appeal to Apple’s Galway data centre plans


Today's Stories

Three people killed as Ireland feels the full force of Storm Ophelia

Government urged to seek emergency cash from EU crisis fund

Schools closed again as building inspections set to begin in earnest

Three people killed in separate incidents across country

Lifestyle

Remembering the dead: Poignant reason behind Cork’s Zombie Walk

Eight events around Ireland to check out for some frightful fun this Halloween

Massacre at mass on Scariff Island

Ask Audrey: 'It’s like I’m in a horror movie called Revenge of the Norries'

More From The Irish Examiner