European High Court to Consider Future of Personal Data Transfers to US

The European Court of Justice will now hear a second case on legal protections for personal data sent from Europe to the United States. Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook considers whether Facebook’s transfers of data from Ireland to the United States violate the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Irish High Court ruled this week that there are “well-founded concerns that there is an absence of an effective legal remedy in U.S. law” and referred the matter to the high court of Europe. The case in Ireland follows the landmark 2015 decision Schrems v. DPC, which found insufficient legal protections for the transfer of data to the United States. In the Irish case, Max Schrems, an Austrian privacy advocate, challenged Facebook’s transfer of personal data to the U.S. under “standard contractual clauses.” EPIC was designated the US NGO amicus curiae in DPC v. Facebook, and provided a detailed assessment of US privacy law. EPIC was represented before the Irish court by FLAC (Free Advice Legal Centres), an independent human rights organization, based in Dublin.


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