The irish High Court has referred a case about the way in which Facebook transfers of user data across the Atlantic to the united states to the EU, the high court.
The result, which could take months to be resolved, could affect thousands of companies that use similar systems.
It is the latest twist in a long legal dispute between the student of Austrian law Max Schrems and the social-media giant.
One expert said there was “much at stake” in the case.
This part of what has become the fiendishly complex case of Facebook v Schrems hinges on the so-called standard contractual clauses (Scc) and how the social network uses to transfer data between Europe and the united states.
Technology companies, many of which have data centers spread around the world, the need to transfer information between them in order to make sure that the services are running efficiently.
The Sccs provide the legal basis for millions of daily transfers of data from the united states, Japan, Brazil and many other countries, according to the Business Software Alliance, that acted as an expert in the case.
In response to the statement, Facebook said: “Standard contractual clauses provide safeguards to ensure that the European data protection once they are transferred to the companies that operate in the US or in other places around the world, and are used by thousands of companies to do business.
“They are essential for companies of all sizes, and the defense of them is essential to ensure that the economy can continue to grow without interruption.”
He urged the European Court of Justice to consider the “robust protection by virtue of contractual clauses, and the laws of the united states, before you take any decision that may jeopardize the transfer of data across the Atlantic and around the world.”The mass surveillance
For his part, Mr. Schrems has accused the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, to pass the buck, claiming that it had “refused” to use its power to suspend Facebook data streams despite agreement that there can be problems.
“It is still not clear to me why the DPC is to take the extreme position that the Cac must be invalidated across the board, when a specific solution is available,” he said.
“The only explanation I have is that those who want to shift the responsibility back to Luxembourg rather than decide for themselves.”
Mr Schrems argued that Facebook transfer data were not valid because this type of information could be read by american intelligence agencies.
“In simple terms, the u.s. law requires Facebook to help the NSA [National Security Agency] mass surveillance and the legislation of the EU prohibits precisely that,” he said.
“As Facebook is subject to both jurisdictions, that you are in a legal dilemma that does not have the possibility to resolve in the long term.”
Ceo Mark Zuckerberg has gone on record to deny that Facebook had any involvement in Prism, a mass surveillance program described in a series of leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
The Business Software Alliance said that he was going to argue that Sccs did protect the user’s data.
“Sccs include important security measures to protect users – among them, the granting national data protection authorities the power of review of the specific implementation of these clauses on a case by case basis,” said the director-general for policy Thomas Boue.
“We will continue to advocate these perspectives before the Court of Justice of the european union”.
Trevor Hughes, president of the International Association of professional privacy, said the case is a clear example of privacy versus economic necessity and that is “in play”.
“The digital economy is based on the flow of data across borders,” he said.
“Many are concerned that the restrictions on these flows limit the growth of economies around the world and create split islands controlled by data services.
“Others point to the primacy of the concern for privacy and the urgent need to slow the transfer of data that do not adhere to national expectations.
“All eyes are now on Luxembourg, where the court will hopefully decide soon to clear the legal uncertainty in this area.”
Kevin Cahill, an investigative journalist who has written extensively on the case of Computer Weekly, believes that there is much more at stake.
“This case completely misses the point, which is criminal and illegal mass surveillance in the uk by the US internet giants, including Facebook,” he said.
“[The irish High Court Judge Caroline Costello] was critical of the situation but your judgement will do nothing to end it.”
“Judge Hogan in the High Court of ireland, as according to Max Schrems that what the US was doing, through the companies, it was massive and indiscriminate surveillance’… and called Facebook.”
“It is beyond comprehension that none of that pay to protect us from an atrocity such as this have acted for us and our children.”
Brief history of Schrems v FacebookMr Schrems initially filed a lawsuit against Facebook in 2012, which indicates that the amount of data that is collected in it violated European lawPresented to the Irish regulator (DPC), since this is where Facebook has its European headquartersThe original complaint was made more complex in 2013, following the revelations of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about a program dubbed Prism Prism, according to a leak from the presentation, it was a massive surveillance program that allowed the NSA to receive e-mail messages, video clips, photos, voice and video calls, social networking details, and other data from Microsoft, Skype, Google, YouTube, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Apple and PalTalk.
In October 2015, the European Court of Justice ruled that the EU-US data sharing system dubbed Safe Harbor was not valid and that all data transfers must end
It also ruled that the DPC should investigate Mr Schrems of the original complaint