Facebook Granted 'Unprecedented' Leave To Appeal Over Referral Of Privacy Shield Case To Top EU Court
from the never-a-dull-moment dept
Back in April, we wrote about the latest development in the long, long saga of Max Schrem’s legal challenge to Facebook’s data transfers from the EU to the US. The Irish High Court referred the case to the EU’s top court, asking the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to rule on eleven issues that the judge raised. Facebook tried to appeal against the Irish High Court’s decision, but the received wisdom was that it was not an option for CJEU referrals of this kind. But as the Irish Times reports, to everyone’s surprise, it seems the received wisdom was wrong:
The [Irish] Supreme Court has agreed to hear an unprecedented appeal by Facebook over a High Court judge’s decision to refer to the European Court of Justice (CJEU) key issues concerning the validity of EU-US data transfer channels.
The Irish Chief Justice rejected arguments by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner and Schrems that Facebook could not seek to have the Supreme Court reverse certain disputed findings of fact by the High Court. The judge said that it was “at least arguable” Facebook could persuade the Supreme Court that some or all of the facts under challenge should be reversed. On that basis, the appeal could go ahead. Among the facts that would be considered were the following key points:
The chief justice said Facebook was essentially seeking that the Supreme Court “correct” the alleged errors, including the High Court findings of “mass indiscriminate” processing, that surveillance is legal unless forbidden, on the doctrine of legal standing in US law and in the consideration of other issues including safeguards.
Facebook also argues the High Court erred in finding the laws and practices of the US did not provide EU citizens with an effective remedy, as required under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, for breach of data privacy rights.
Those are crucial issues not just for Facebook, but also for the validity of the entire Privacy Shield framework, which is currently under pressure in the EU. It’s not clear whether the Irish Supreme Court is really prepared to overrule the High Court judge, and to what extent the CJEU will take note anyway. One thing that is certain is that a complex and important case just took yet another surprising twist.