Facebook’s transfer of data to the U.S. may end up in front of the ECJ again

On May 25, 2016, Schrem’s website “Europe v Facebook” (website collecting information regarding class actions against Facebook) released a press update according to which the Irish Data Protection Commissioner may refer another issue to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) i.e., according to the website, whether “Facebook can continue to transfer data from the EU to the US after the invalidation of the ‘Safe Harbor’ system by the Court on October 6th 2015 and given continues application of US mass surveillance laws”.

After the ECJ invalidated the “Safe Harbor” decision, Facebook perform the data transfer using the “Model Clauses”. here a copy of Facebook’s Model Clauses.

However, according to Mr. Schrems, the change of legal basis for data transfer does not solve the problem underlined in ECJ’s decision on the Safe Harbor, i.e. US Government’s mass surveillance on EU data and lack of legal redress in the USA for foreign nationals.

The Irish Authority shared Mr. Schrems’ concerns and is prepared to refer a question to the ECJ to determine if Facebook can continue to transfer data from the EU to the US on the basis of the “Model Clauses”:

“We continue to thoroughly and diligently investigate Mr Schrems’ complaint to ensure the adequate protection of personal data. We yesterday informed Mr Schrems and Facebook of our intention to seek declaratory relief in the Irish High Court and a referral to the CJEU to determine the legal status of data transfers under Standard Contractual Clauses. We will update all relevant parties as our investigation continues.”

Read here theStatement by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in respect of application for Declaratory Relief in the Irish High Court and Referral to the CJEU.

Read on alternatives to Safe Harbor for the transfer of data between the EU and the US here.


For more information, Francesca Giannoni-Crystal

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