Category Archives: Actors

Facebook, the NSA and Data Protection: not so ‘frivolous and vexatious’ anymore? [i]

A look at the Advocate General’s opinion in Maximillian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner.

UntitledYour average Facebook-using EU resident, whilst often being blissfully unaware of the laws that apply to his or her personal data acquired by Facebook, has probably shown some concern about privacy rights, especially since the 2013 Snowden revelations. Then a young Austrian law student, Maximillian Schrems decided to take this concern further and in 2013 lodged a complaint with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner about Facebook transferring EU residents’ personal data to the US, where, he asserted, it was insufficiently protected. The complaint was rejected, and the case went before the Irish High Court and eventually the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). CJEU Advocate General Yves Bot (AG) issued an opinion on 23 September, advising the Court in how to decide upon the case. Privacy activists, including Schrems, have welcomed this opinion and commentators are now rushing to speculate what the consequences will be. Whatever the eventual outcome, the AG’s opinion is in line with recent CJEU decisions that emphasise the importance of the fundamental right to data protection over other rights, freedoms, concerns and/or interests. Continue reading