Wednesday

22nd Sep 2021

US government allowed to plead in Facebook data case

  • "The United States has a significant and bona fide interest in the outcome of these proceedings", an Irish judge said (Photo: prameya)

The US government can take part in a case against Facebook on data transfer from Europe to the US, the Irish high court said on Tuesday (19 July).

The case was brought by Austrian activist Max Schrems. It was formally opened last October after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) struck down an EU-US data protection agreement known as Safe Harbour.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It will determine whether European internet users' data is sufficiently protected from US surveillance.

The court's decision will allow the US government to defend its legislation before the ECJ.

“The United States has a significant and bona fide interest in the outcome of these proceedings”, said high court judge Brian McGovern.

He explained that "the imposition of restrictions on the transfer of such data would have potentially considerable adverse effects on EU-US commerce and could affect US companies significantly”.

Schrems said in statement that the US participation in the lawsuit showed that he had "hit them from a relevant angle".

“The US can largely ignore the political critique on US mass surveillance, but it cannot ignore the economic relevance of EU-US data flows," he said.

The court's decision comes a week after the European Commission launched a new data protection agreement with the US called Privacy Shield.

The commission said the deal provides new guarantees that Europeans' privacy will be better protected.

But Schrems said it did not address concerns raised by the ECJ when it struck down Safe Harbour. 

The commission "knows it will sink sooner or later," he said about Privacy Shield.

Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency

Some 14 MEPs have created a group to probe allegations of rights abuse by the EU's border agency Frontex. Its head, Fabrice Leggeri, welcomed its creation and said it "is about time".

Romania denies forcing migrant-boat back to Turkish waters

Romania's ministry of internal affairs wrote to Frontex claiming it did not engage in any illegal pushbacks of people on rubber boats into Turkish territorial waters. The country says it followed EU engagement rules and Greek orders.

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. French MEPs lead bogus EU monitoring of Russia vote
  2. Europeans think new 'Cold War' is here - but not for them
  3. Spain wants energy price discussion at next EU summit
  4. Trust in Dutch government drops, but not for Rutte
  5. Long ago, there was another Angela Merkel
  6. The first anniversary of the Abraham Accords
  7. First refugee deaths confirmed on Belarus-EU border
  8. EU kept in dark on ex-commissioner's new lobby job

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us