Ireland to probe Facebook over data transfers to the US

An Irish watchdog on Tuesday announced that is set to investigate social media giant Facebook’s data transfers to the US, the media reported.

The Data Protection Commissioner has agreed before the high court to investigate a complaint by Austrian student Max Schrems alleging Facebook Ireland is making his personal data available via the social networking site to US intelligence agencies, The Irish Times reported.

The Commissioner’s lawyers told Justice Gerard Hogan the investigation would proceed arising from the recent decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) concerning the Safe Harbour arrangement relating to transfer of personal data.

The ECJ ruled that the Safe Harbour arrangement, which allowed about 4,500 US companies to transfer personal data to the US, violates the fundamental rights of European Union (EU) citizens to privacy and data protection.

Schrems in judicial review proceedings had challenged the commissioner’s refusal to investigate his complaint.

There may be discussions on a new Safe Harbour arrangement and data protection commissioners across Europe are considering that matter, Judge Hogan said.

The case involves the Irish data watchdog because Facebook’s European headquarters is in Dublin.