High Court rules Court of Justice of the European Union must decide on EU-US data privacy rules

The High Court has ruled that issues raised by the Data Protection Commissioner about the way data is transferred between the EU and countries outside the EU, should be referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The case arises from a complaint by an Austrian lawyer, Max Schrems, who said his data privacy rights were breached by the transfer of his personal data by Facebook's European Headquarters in Ireland to its US parent company - writes rte.ie.

US law allows such data to be accessed and processed by state agencies in the interests of national security.

The data of EU citizens is much more stringently protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Ms Justice Caroline Costello said the Data Protection Commissioner had raised well founded concerns that there was an absence of an effective remedy in US law compatible with the Charter, for EU citizens whose data is transferred to the US where it is then at risk of being accessed and processed by US state agencies.

She said her ruling did not reflect value judgments on the way the US dealt with data protection and surveillance by government agencies.

Justice Costello said it was not the function of the court to criticise the laws of a sovereign state or to pronounce on the relative merits of the laws of the United States and the European Union and she did not do so in her judgment.

The judge said she would now hear submissions from the parties about the questions to be referred to the Court of Justice.

The matter will be mentioned in the High Court again in a week's time when a date will be set for those submissions.

Outside court, Mr Schrems said he was pleased with the referral to the CJEU.

Read also other Dublin news here.

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