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Facebook Loses Privacy Battle In Ireland

Facebook has lost a legal privacy battle in Ireland that could force the mammoth social media company to cease transferring data to the U.S.

According to the Associated Press, the Irish High Court denied Facebook’s attempt to block a decision by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission that would suspend Facebook’s data flows between the European Union and America.

In his judgement, Judge David Barniville wrote that Facebook “must fail on those grounds of challenge and that it is, therefore, not entitled to any of the reliefs claimed in the proceedings.”

The protection commission began looking into the matter last year following an EU court ruling abolishing an agreement that protected EU-U.S. data transfers, arguing this agreement — called Privacy Shield — didn’t do enough to shield users from cyber-snooping by the U.S. government.

The commission said it “welcomes today’s judgement,” the AP wrote, while Facebook said it would defend its compliance before the body, and that “their preliminary decision could be damaging not only to Facebook, but also to users and other businesses.”

This is not the first time Facebook has been in court in Europe over privacy issues. In October of last year, the EU’s second-highest court ruled that Facebook can’t be forced to turn over sensitive information without a review.

That ruling, which followed a complaint by Facebook that regulators were making excessive demands for sensitive data, said Facebook should identify the information requested by regulators and store it in a “virtual data room.”

The Associated Press notes that while the case deals with Facebook specifically, it could have larger ripples, as Ireland’s privacy watchdog also enforces privacy rules for other tech companies whose EU operations are based in Ireland, including Google, Apple and Twitter.

In the past, Facebook has threated to pull the plug on its platform in Europe over the regulators’ decision. As PYMNTS reported last year, Facebook suggested in an affidavit filed to the commission that it was prepared to shutter its operations in a part of the world where it boasts more than 400 million users.

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