Irish data regulator could ban Facebook’s EU-US data transfers

Ireland’s data regulator can now go ahead with an investigation that could lead to the ban of Facebook’s transatlantic data transfers, following a High Court ruling on Friday.

Last year the country’s data protection commissioner (DPC), who leads the regulation of Facebook in the EU, began a probe into the social media platform. The commissioner also issued a provisional order that said the system Facebook uses to transfer EU user data to the US “cannot in practice be used.”

According to a report by Reuters, the tech giant had challenged the inquiry and the preliminary draft decision, saying that they could mean “devastating” and “irreversible” consequences for the platform which relies on user data for targeted online advertisements.

But the High Court rejected Facebook’s challenge to the investigation last week.

"I refuse all of the reliefs sought by FBI (Facebook Ireland) and dismiss the claims made by it in the proceedings," Justice David Barniville said in a judgment. "FBI has not established any basis for impugning the DPC decision or the PDD or the procedures for the inquiry adopted by the DPC.”

Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, who has encouraged the Irish data regulator to act in a number of legal actions over an eight-year period, told the news agency that while the decision doesn’t mean an immediate stop to data transfers, it does make this outcome inevitable.

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