Legal

EU Court Sets Date To Rule On Privacy Case Against Facebook

European Union court gavel

The latest twist in what could very well be a landmark ruling is set to unfold Dec. 12, when Europe’s top court will give an opinion regarding Facebook privacy.

The issue came to a head Tuesday (July 9) at the end of a Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) hearing capping a six-year saga pitting Facebook against Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems. What happens Dec. 12 could affect how hundreds of thousands of companies transfer personal data worldwide, Bloomberg and other outlets report.

Facebook joined forces with technology lobbyists and government leaders to challenge privacy campaigners led by Schrems, who has a record of winning important cases against Facebook.

The cornerstone of the argument is about how Facebook’s standard contractual clauses and compliance works with Europeans’ fundamental right to privacy, as per the 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR establishes European privacy rights that are not available in United States — including a requirement for companies to get users’ explicit permission before collecting any personal information, The New York Times reports.

The contractual clauses have been used by numerous companies and other organizations following Safe Harbour, the European Union’s previous privacy rules that were struck down in a previous case brought by Schrems, according to a Reuters report.

The ECJ Advocate General’s opinion will be non-binding, but such opinions are influential and usually followed by the court’s judges at a later date.

Facebook was recently fined $1.1 million by Italy for violating local privacy laws in relation to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, reports said.

Facebook isn’t alone in privacy scrutiny. Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) said July 3 that it is in the midst of a third privacy investigation into Apple.

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