Facebook takes legal action against Irish regulator on data transfers


A visitor enters the Facebook European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

LONDON — Facebook on Friday launched legal action against Ireland’s data regulator, in an attempt to halt a preliminary order that could stop the company from transferring user data from the European Union to the U.S.

The social media giant has applied to seek judicial review of the approach used by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission on the grounds it was premature for the IDPC to have reached a preliminary conclusion at this stage. 

“A lack of safe, secure and legal international data transfers would have damaging consequences for the European economy,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC via email. “We urge regulators to adopt a pragmatic and proportionate approach until a sustainable long-term solution can be reached.”

The reported IDPC order came just a few months after the European Court of Justice ruled the data transfer standard between the EU and the U.S. doesn’t adequately protect European citizen’s privacy.

The court, the EU’s highest legal authority, restricted how U.S. firms could send European user data to the U.S. after concluding EU citizens had no effective way to challenge American government surveillance.

U.S. agencies such as the NSA can theoretically ask internet companies like Facebook and Google to hand over data on an EU citizen and that EU citizen would be none-the-wiser.



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