The Irish High Court has referred a case about the way in which Facebook transfers of user data, across the Atlantic, in the UNITED states to the EU’s highest 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 a student of law, Austrian Max Schrems and the social-media giant.
An expert said that there wasn’t much in the game,” in the case.
This particular part of what has become the fiendishly complex case of Facebook v Schrems hinges on the so-called standard contractual clauses (Sccs), and how the social network uses them to transfer data between Europe and the UNITED states.
Technology companies, many of which have data centers scattered all over the world, the need to transfer information between them, in order to ensure the services operate efficiently.
The Sccs provide the legal basis for millions of data transfers to the UNITED states, Japan, Brazil and many other countries, according to the Business Software Alliance, which has acted as an expert in the case.
In response to the ruling, Facebook said: “Standard contractual clauses provide critical safeguards to ensure that European citizens, the data are protected once they are transferred to companies operating in the UNITED states or in other parts of the world, and are used by thousands of companies to do business.
“They are essential for companies of all sizes, and their strengthening is fundamental to ensure that the economy can continue to grow without problems.”
He urged the Court of Justice of the European union to take into account “the strong protections under the standard contractual clauses and law, before any decision that could endanger the transfer of data across the Atlantic and around the world.”The monitoring of mass
For his part, Mr Schrems accused the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, passing the buck, stating that she had “refused” to use its power to suspend Facebook’s data flows, while agreeing on the fact that there may be problems.
“It is still not clear to me why the DPC is to take the extreme position that the Sccs should be invalidated, the entire board of directors, when a targeted solution is available,” he said.
“The only explanation I have is that you want to move the responsibility back to Luxembourg, instead of deciding themselves.”
Mr Schrems argued that Facebook is the transfer of data are not valid because these data can be read by US intelligence agencies.
“In simple terms, the american law imposes on Facebook to help the NSA [National Security Agency] mass surveillance and the law of the european union prohibits only that,” he said.
“Facebook is subject to both jurisdictions, have had their legal dilemma that you may possibly fix in the long run.”
Ceo Mark Zuckerberg has gone on record to deny that Facebook has had no involvement in Prism, a mass surveillance program is described in a series of leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
The Business Software Alliance, said he would argue that the Sccs did protect user data.
“The sccs contains important security measures to protect users between them, to allow national data protection authorities the power to revise the specific implementation of these clauses, case-by-case,” said the general director of policy Thomas Boue.
“We will continue to support these perspectives before the Court of Justice of the european union”.
Trevor Hughes, president of the International Association of privacy professionals, said the case was a clear example of privacy and the commercial ones, and that “a lot of it is in the game”.
“The digital economy is based on the flow of data across borders,” he said.
“Many are concerned that the limitations of these streams to limit the growth of economies throughout the world and create islands on the basis of the data of the services.
“Another point to the primacy of privacy and the urgent need to regulate the transfer of data that does not adhere to national expectations.
“All eyes are now on Luxembourg, where the court will hopefully decide soon to cancel the legal uncertainty in this area.”
Kevin Cahill, an investigative journalist who has written widely on the case for Computer Weekly, believes that there is much more in the game.
“This case is completely missing the point, which is a criminal and illegal practice of mass surveillance in the UK from the US internet giants including Facebook,” he said.
“[Irish high Court Judge Caroline Costello] critique of the situation, but his judgment does nothing in the end.”
“The judge, Hogan, the Irish High Court, has already been agreed with Max Schrems, what makes US, through the company, it was ‘of mass and indiscriminate surveillance’… and named the Facebook.”
“It is inconceivable that none of those paid to protect us from an attack like this they have acted for us and our children.”
Brief history of Schrems v FacebookMr Schrems initially filed a complaint against Facebook in 2012, stating that the amount of data that is being collected about him, in breach of European lawHas been filed for the Irish regulator (DPC), because that is where Facebook has its European headquartersThe original complaint has become more complex in 2013, following the revelations of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden on a program nicknamed Prism Prism, according to a leaked presentation, it was a program of mass surveillance that has allowed the NSA to receive e-mail messages, video clips, photos, voice and video calls, social networking details, and other data held by Microsoft, Skype, Google, YouTube, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Apple and PalTalk.
In the month of October 2015, the European Court of Justice has ruled that EU and U.S. data sharing system dubbed Safe Harbor was not valid and that all data transfers must end
Moreover, it was established that the DPC should investigate Mr Schrems of the original complaint