23 November 2020

International Cases



Human Rights

ECJ: Safe Harbour not safe from US intelligence

In a case where an Austrian citizen complained against his personal data on popular social networking website ‘Facebook’ being shifted from servers in Ireland to the United States of America, the European Court of Justice passed a scathing judgment against American snooping on users’ personal data. Referring to American Safe Harbour Privacy Principles that envisage a policy and process for government authorities to seek access to personal information stored in the country received from the European Union, the Court opined that United States public authorities were not required to comply with them; national security, public interest and statutes created conflicting obligations, which were likely to be given precedence over data privacy. Moreover, those affected by such government interference had no means of redress. Short of ordering a return of European users’ data back to European servers, the Court directed Irish authorities to determine if American laws afforded sufficient protection of personal data to Facebook’s European subscribers. However, any adverse finding is likely to affect all web companies that signed up to the Safe Harbour Principles.

Tags : Safe harbour data privacy offshore server

Share :