EU court’s stance sees progress for Facebook privacy campaign

A privacy campaigner has achieved a Europe-wide legal victory, meaning that he is closer to his ultimate aim of stopping Facebook from legally passing data on EU citizens to the US authorities.

Following his decision to take legal action, Max Schrems’s case received support from the European Court of Justice, which agreed with him that existing rules for the sharing of data between the EU’s 28 nations and the US are “invalid”.

The privacy campaigner said: “Companies that participate in US mass surveillance and provide, for example, cloud services within the EU and rely on data centres in the US may now have to invest in secure data centres within the European Union.

“This could be a major issue for Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft or Yahoo.

“All of them operate data centres in Europe, but may need to fundamentally restructure their data storage architecture and maybe even their corporate structure.”

Though a final judgement from the EU court’s 15 Judges has not yet been made, it is likely that any decision will either restrict or put an end to the social media platform’s ability to send data to the US.

Currently, US-based technology firms are able to self-certify a claim that they are carrying out the required steps to meet existing data rules, which Mr Schrems has argued is unfair when other companies are required to go through a higher level of vetting.

A spokesperson for Facebook said: “Facebook operates in compliance with EU Data Protection law.

“Like the thousands of other companies who operate data transfers across the Atlantic we await the full judgement.”

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Nigel is the Managing Partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in the London office of Mackrell Turner Garrett.