Irish regulator gets green light for probe that could disrupt Facebook data By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Facebook logo is placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo

By Conor Humphries

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s data regulator may open an investigation that could lead to a ban on data transfers from Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 from the European Union to the United States, the country’s High Court ruled on Friday.

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) launched an investigation in August and issued an interim order that the mechanism Facebook uses to transfer user data from the EU to the US “cannot in practice to be used”.

Facebook had challenged both the investigation and the preliminary draft decision (PDD), saying they threatened “devastating” and “irreversible” consequences for its business, which relies on processing user data to disseminate targeted online advertising.

The High Court dismissed the challenge on Friday.

“I refuse all the remedies requested by the FBI (Facebook Ireland) and reject the allegations it has made in the proceedings,” the court said in a judgment.

“The FBI has not established any basis to challenge the decision of the DPC or the PDD or the investigative procedures adopted by the DPC,” said the judgment.

Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, who helped force the data regulator to open the investigation, said he believed the decision made it inevitable to stop Facebook’s data feeds.

“After eight years, the DPC is now required to stop Facebook’s EU-US data transfers, possibly before the summer,” Schrems said in a statement.

Facebook and the DPC said they would comment on the judgment shortly.

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