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Judicial review of Facebook data case to begin in High Court tomorrow

The Europe V Facebook group launched the action last year after the Irish Data Protection Commissioner decided not to investigate Facebook over its involvement in the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program.

 Austrian student Max Schrems who filed the complaint against Facebook Ireland.
Austrian student Max Schrems who filed the complaint against Facebook Ireland.
Image: Ronald Zak

FACEBOOK WILL BE at the centre of a judicial review involving the transfer of personal data which is taking place in the High Court tomorrow.

The review concerns the Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s decision not to investigate Facebook over its involvement with PRISM, the surveillance operation ran by the US’ National Security Agency (NSA).

Europe V. Facebook, a group that aims to have Facebook adhere to European privacy laws, launched the action last year.

One of its members, Austrian law student Max Schrems, first filed a complaint against Facebook Ireland with the Data Commissioner, claiming it was illegally exporting data to the US.

Schrems argued that European’s data was further forwarded to the NSA for mass surveillance of Europeans.

However, the commissioner declined to pursue an investigation under Section 10 of the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003, which allows him to decide that a matter doesn’t require a formal investigation by the office, because of the European Commission’s ‘Safe Harbour’ decision, a process which requires US companies to comply with EU Directive on the protection of personal data.

Schrems also argued that its legal view was shared by the European Commission, the European Parliament and other European Data Protection authorities.

Read: Facebook’s plan for its mobile apps: grow userbase now, make money later >

Read: Could the EU set the standard for digital rights worldwide? >

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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