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Irish Data Protection Commission Asks Facebook to Stop Sending European Data to the United States

Jericho Casper



Screenshot of Commissioner Didier Reynders on the webinar

September 14, 2020 - The transatlantic relationship between the European Union and the United States has reached a critical point, as the countries’ data privacy policies continue to clash.

On July 16, a legal decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union, Schrems II, moved to invalidate the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, stating that the data transfer standard between the EU and the U.S. doesn’t sufficiently protect European users' privacy, as Europe has stricter data privacy laws than does America.

On Wednesday, transatlantic tensions further heightened when the Irish Data Protection Commission asked Facebook to stop sending EU user data to the U.S.

The Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institute hosted a webinar on Thursday with Commissioner Didier Reynders to advance the transatlantic dialogue in the aftermath of Schrems II.

Reynders called the present a defining moment in technology and democracy, championing data rights as human rights.

“The Schrems II ruling raised complex issues but also raised multifaceted ways to address them,” said Reynders, noting that both sides are facing unprecedented challenges relating to issues of privacy, security, artificial intelligence, and consumer protection in the context of EU-U.S. relations.

Reynders called for fully preserving fundamental rights and freedoms and leading policy with a humancentric approach, noting that “a very large majority of Americans want the data rights we enjoy in the EU.”

“Privacy rules are key to responding to global challenges we face today,” said Reynders, which is why Court of Justice Commissioners are “working on a broad toolbox for international data transfers.”

Following the Schrems II decision, Facebook reported that it has been setting out its position on how to secure the long-term stability of international data transfers, according to Nick Clegg, Facebook vice president of global affairs and communications.

"A lack of safe, secure and legal international data transfers would damage the economy and hamper the growth of data-driven businesses in the EU, just as we seek a recovery from COVID-19,” he said, highlighting the fact that the Schrems II decision resulted in uncertainty for thousands of U.S. and European businesses reliant on international data flows.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Commission have renewed negotiations for the third time, to come to a new agreement to facilitate data transfers from the EU to the U.S.


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