Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is facing a legal challenge in Ireland over transferring European users data to the United States. On Thursday, the social networking giant said that the legal challenge by the Irish data regulator was “deeply flawed,” Fortune reported.
In May last year, Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) found that a complaint about privacy protections in mechanisms the social media company uses to transfer data was “well-founded.” The DPC is asking the Irish High Court to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which would decide whether to ban the use of “model contracts,” common legal arrangements used by thousands of companies to transfer personal data outside the 28-nation bloc.
Facebook said that the case should not be referred to the EU’s top court because sufficient privacy protections were already in place for data stored in the U.S.
The company’s lawyer representing told the High Court that the case was flawed because it did not take into account the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield agreement signed last August to address concerns about U.S. surveillance.
Under the terms of the agreement, the replacement for the Safe Harbour agreement inked by the CJEU in 2015, the United States agreed to limit the collection of and access to Europeans’ data stored on U.S. servers.
“How could you have a well-founded concern about the protections that are available without having looked at it (privacy shield),” Paul Gallagher, a Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) lawyer, told the High Court. “There should be no reference because the (Data Protection Commissioner’s) decision has been overtaken by events,” the lawyer said, adding that the “decision is deeply flawed.”
According to Gallagher, the level of transparency of protections in the United States “match anything in Europe.” He also said the court had not heard expert arguments on the quality of U.S. privacy protections.
The DPC became involved in the case after Austrian law student and privacy activist Max Schrems filed a complaint in Dublin about Facebook’s handling of his data in the U.S. He was concerned that his personal data can be accessed unlawfully by U.S. state security agencies. Schrems’ concerns arose in light of the disclosures by Edward Snowden regarding a program called PRISM operated by the U.S. National Security Agency.
The proceedings currently pending before the High Court. The title of the proceedings is “Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook Ireland Limited & Maxmillian Schrems”.
Click Here you can read more about proceedings.