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- Sep 2020
The filing is the latest volley in a legal battle that has lasted almost a decade. In 2011, Max Schrems, an Austrian lawyer, began filing privacy complaints with the Irish data protection commissioner, which regulates Facebook in the EU, about the social network’s practices.Those complaints gathered momentum two years later, when the Guardian revealed the NSA’s Prism program, a vast surveillance operation involving direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet companies. Schrems filed a further privacy complaint, which was eventually referred to the European court of justice.That court found in 2015 that, because of the existence of Prism, the “Safe Harbour” agreement, which allowed US companies to transfer the data of EU citizens back home, was invalid.The EU then attempted a second legal agreement for the data transfers, a so-called privacy shield; that too was invalidated in July this year, with the court again ruling that the US does not limit surveillance of EU citizens.In September, the Irish data protection commissioner began the process of enforcing that ruling. The commissioner issued a preliminary order compelling the social network to suspend data transfers overseas.In response, Nick Clegg, the company’s head of global affairs and communications, published a blogpost that argued that “international data transfers underpin the global economy and support many of the services that are fundamental to our daily lives”.
A good summary of the legal battle around data transfers of EU citizens' data to US and other third countries