Irish regulator gets closer to ban on Facebook EU-US data streams

DUBLIN, July 7 (Reuters) – Ireland’s data privacy regulator came one step closer to a ruling that could halt data transfers between the EU and the US by Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, when it issued an updated draft injunction on Thursday with other EU regulators, a spokesperson said. said.

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) issued a preliminary injunction in 2020 to block the mechanism Meta uses to transfer data about EU users to the United States, after Europe’s highest court found the agreement it allowed invalid due to concerns about supervision.

After the bloc was issued, the European Union and the United States announced a preliminary data transfer agreement to end uncertainty, and data flows have continued pending a final agreement.

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However, the DPC’s investigation has continued in parallel and it informed its EU counterparts on Thursday of a draft of its final decision, the spokesman said. The spokesperson declined to comment on the specific content of the decision.

The DPC is the EU’s primary regulator for Meta and many other of the world’s largest technology companies, due to the location of their EU headquarters in Ireland.

Under the EU privacy rules introduced in 2018, regulators across the bloc have one month to provide their input before a final decision is made. Any objections, which are regularly submitted in such cases, can extend the term by months.

Meta has warned that an outage is unlikely to be able to offer key services such as Facebook and Instagram in Europe without a new trans-Atlantic data transfer framework.

DPC head Helen Dixon told Reuters in February that a shutdown of Meta’s data streams wouldn’t immediately affect other major tech companies, but might require “hundreds of thousands of entities” to be looked at. read more

The final Irish order would not apply to Meta’s subsidiary WhatsApp, as it has a different controller within the group.

“This draft decision, which is under review by European data protection authorities, concerns a conflict between EU and US law that is currently being resolved,” a Meta spokesperson said on Thursday.

“We welcome the agreement between the EU and the US for a new legal framework that will enable the continued transfer of data across borders, and we expect this framework will enable us to keep families, communities and economies connected. “

When the preliminary agreement was signed in March, EU officials said it would likely take months to make a final legal settlement.

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Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Jan Harvey

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