US to join Facebook data protection case in EU

US to join Facebook data protection case in EU

Dublin, July 20 (IANS) The Irish High Court on Tuesday allowed the US government to take part in a case against Facebook on data transfer from Europe to the US.

Max Schrems, an Austrian law student and privacy activist, brought the case questioning whether Facebook data was protected properly, CNET reported.

“The fact that the US government intervenes in this lawsuit, shows that we hit them from a relevant angle,” Schrems said in a statement.

“The US can largely ignore the political critique on US mass surveillance, but it cannot ignore the economic relevance of European Union (EU)-US data flows,” CNET quoted Schrems as saying.

The court’s decision will allow the US government to defend its legislation before the European Court of Justice.

“The US has a significant and bonafide interest in the outcome of these proceedings”, High Court Judge Brian McGovern was quoted as saying.

The EU law allows data transfers if Facebook can guarantee the information is protected from mass surveillance programmes.

McGovern added that the imposition of restrictions on the transfer of such data could affect US companies significantly.

The court’s decision comes after the European Commission recently launched Privacy Shield – a new data protection agreement with the US.

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