Oct 3, 2017

Fresh twist in Facebook data transfer row

The Irish High Court has referred a case about the way Facebook transfers user data across the Atlantic to the US to the EU's highest court. This particular part of what has become the fiendishly complex case of Facebook v Schrems hinges on so-called standard contract clauses and how the social network uses them to transfer data between Europe and the US. Technology companies, many of which have data centres dotted around the globe, need to transfer information between them in order to make sure services run efficiently. For his part, Mr Schrems accused the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, of passing the buck, claiming that she had "Refused" to use her power to suspend Facebook's data flows despite agreeing that there could be issues. Mr Schrems argued that Facebook's data transfers were invalid because such data could be read by US intelligence agencies. In October 2015 the European Court of Justice ruled that an EU-US data sharing system dubbed Safe Harbor was invalid and that all transfers of data must end.

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