Irish High Court to investigate Facebook's transfer of European users' data to the U.S.

By Money Times

Oct 21, 2015 09:27 AM EDT

The Irish court orders to investigate Facebook's transferring of European user's data to the United States. This is to ensure that the European user's privacy was protected from the U.S. surveillance.

The High Court in Ireland told the Irish Data Protection Commission to conduct an investigation on Facebook following the rule of the European Court of Justice, which strikes down the Safe Harbour agreement allowing data transfer between Europe. and the U.S.,Reuters reported.

Max Schrems, an Austrian law student, challenged the process of transferring EU data to the U.S. after the 2013 U.S. government's spying incident. According to the Dispatch Times, Schrems' appeal is due to Edward Snowden's case.

In 2013, the U.S. government's Prism program allowed the NSA to collect private information to internet companies. The NSA whistleblower claims Facebook and other U.S. tech giants were forced to send EU's data to the U.S. intelligence. Since Facebook has an office in Dublin, the student filed it in Ireland.

On the other hand, Facebook said the company has never given the U.S. government an access to Facebook servers. In a report from the Irish Mirror,Facebook said it doesn't acknowledge Prism. In fact, the government goes through a painstaking process whenever they are seeking data from them.

Even so, the company expressed its willingness to clear the issue. "We will respond to inquiries from the Irish Data Protection Commission as they examine the protections for the transfer of personal data under applicable law," said a representative from Facebook.

Schrems is also considering other companies involved in the cloud services. "There are certain companies where we know they are involved in mass surveillance because of the Snowden leaks, and I think that's the companies you should take a look at," he added.

The Austrian law student confirmed 28 European countries now accept complaints about the personal data issue.

As a whole, the Irish High Court's upcoming assessment could set a rule that could affect Europe's flow of data to the U.S. This would have a huge impact on tech companies' operation across the world.

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