Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems’ seven-year-long fight against Facebook reaches a vital point on December 17 when an adviser to Europe’s top court will issue his view on whether or not tools utilized by corporations to transfer information abroad are legal or not.
At stake are standard contractual clauses used by Facebook and thousands of firms, starting from banks to industrial juggernauts to car manufacturers, to transfer private data to America and different parts of the world.
Another concern is whether the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, which came in life in 2016 and designed to protect Europeans’ private data transferred across the Atlantic for commercial use, is lawful or not.
Schrems, an Austrian law pupil, who successfully fought against the EU’s previous privacy guidelines called Safe Harbour in 2015, challenged Facebook’s use of ordinary clauses because they don’t offer enough data protection safeguards.
Facebook’s lead regulator, the Irish Data Protection firm, took the case to the Irish High Court, which then sought steerage from the Luxembourg stationed Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
The opinion by Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe, advocate general at the Luxembourg stationed Court of Justice of the European Union, is non-binding. Nevertheless, judges comply with such suggestions in four out of five cases. The courtroom will rule in the following months.
The case has implications for companies because the transfer measures are essential in ensuring the free movement of data to non-EU nations, stated Jamie Drucker at UK-based law agency Bristows.
Landmark privacy guidelines called GDPR adopted in 2018 offers privacy watchdogs the power to charge firms as much as 4% of their global annual income for breaches.