/>
X

Facebook transfer of data from EU to US shores argued in European high court

The EU’s highest court will debate whether the practice leaves EU citizen open to US surveillance.
charlie-osborne.jpg
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributor on

A long legal battle which centers around Facebook's transfer of data belonging to European citizens to the United States has ended up in the European Court of Justice. 

The Luxembourg-based court, which is the highest in the bloc, is hearing arguments on Tuesday concerning Facebook's data practices and whether or not they are placing EU citizens at risk of surveillance. 

As reported by the BBC, the transfer of data from EU to US shores for business purposes has long been challenged by privacy campaigner Max Schrems following the disclosure of the US National Security Agency (NSA)'s mass surveillance activities by whistleblower Edward Snowden. 

Schrems previously challenged Facebook over its Safe Harbor data transfers

See also: The dead will take over Facebook in the next 50 years

The issue in question is whether or not Facebook's Ireland-based subsidiary is able to protect EU data from US interference and collection and comply with EU data protection standards -- or whether the transfer of information could be considered illegal. 

Facebook says that privacy safeguards are in place when this information is sent to US servers, which can include everything from account data to online activity. 

CNET: The best DIY home security systems of 2019

However, Schrems' legal challenge centers around whether Facebook's legal framework for transferring data, known as "standard contractual clauses" (SCCs), is enough. 

SCCs require that data sent outside the EU to non-EU countries still adhere to GDPR, and additional safeguards are put in place to protect EU rights to privacy, However, given the widespread surveillance activities of countries including the US, the Irish data protection commissioner has argued that standard SCCs are no longer enough. 

TechRepublic: Why Apple should follow Microsoft's move to get rid of passwords

If the legal challenge is successful, this could force other businesses to reexamine their data transfer protocols. If SCCs are not adequate when foreign state surveillance is a possibility, this could have serious ramifications for which data exchanges, and between which countries, the EU may allow to exist in the future.  

A Facebook spokesperson told the BBC:

"Standard contractual clauses provide important safeguards to ensure that Europeans' data are protected once transferred overseas. SCCs have been designed and endorsed by the European Commission and enable thousands of Europeans to do business worldwide." 

Facebook's worst privacy scandals and data disasters

Previous and related coverage


Have a tip? Get in touch securely via WhatsApp | Signal at +447713 025 499, or over at Keybase: charlie0


Related

Are period tracking apps safe?
The best Tech inventions of all time 3 Science ZDNet

Are period tracking apps safe?

Security
US Justice Department won't prosecute white-hat hackers under the CFAA
glowing-keyboard-hacker-security-620x465.jpg

US Justice Department won't prosecute white-hat hackers under the CFAA

Security
Malware is targeting crypto wallets, says Microsoft: Here's how to protect yourself better
shutterstock-1134607430.jpg

Malware is targeting crypto wallets, says Microsoft: Here's how to protect yourself better

Bitcoin