Here we go again. For those who have followed Facebook’s transatlantic data transfer saga for the past eight years, the pattern has become somewhat familiar.
It goes something like this: data transmission system is challenged; court upholds claim; Data regulator gets involved; Authorities Announce New Transatlantic Agreement to Solve Problem; new agreement challenged in court; Court upholds appeal… And so on, around the houses.
On the face of it, the recent development – the transfer of the unpublished decision of the data protection commissioner banning transatlantic data transfers from Facebook to other European regulators – appears to be the last chance for Facebook and the EU and US authorities. It is traditionally the last procedural step in his decision-making process, after which the hammer falls.
Assuming the other European regulators don’t object – and why should they? — to a likely transatlantic ban on Facebook data, we should be on the cusp of a historic, seismic regulatory ban that will turn the internet as we know it on its head.
Well no. This is where the levers of the aforementioned carousel could hit for the umpteenth time.
First of all, any ban would likely be given a transitional period for implementation. That makes sense: how does a large chunk of the internet just shut down overnight? With the tentacles that Facebook and Instagram have all over the internet, regulators will likely give them time to comply. This can be three months, six months or longer. Crucially, there is enough time to finalize and announce the new EU-US data transmission framework, the key points of which were agreed earlier this year.
Once that happens, we’re likely back in the carousel: Meta, backed by the European Commission, will again seek legal authority to continue transferring data to the US. Privacy advocates will almost certainly disagree. They will challenge the new EU-US trade deal at country level (possibly in Ireland) and then in European courts. They can win, but it will take them two, three, four years to do it. At that time, the authorities will announce the latest initiative to repair the system. And everything will start all over again.
That sounds cynical, but it’s now very much on the mind of some of the lead regulators involved in the process.
So far they are right. They have also been helped by the constraint of the online economy. It is no small thing to propose shutting down the Internet between free, democratic nations.
The core problem of the entire complaint is, of course, no closer to the solution. The US believes that its system for intercepting communications, whether involving US or EU citizens, is proportionate and appropriate for its own national security. The EU considers this surveillance to be excessive and fundamentally incompatible with its citizens’ human right to privacy.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/europe-and-the-us-are-set-to-face-off-over-data-transfers-yet-again-41823413.html Europe and the US face off again over data transfers