Facebook May Change Data Practices in Europe

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Following a preliminary order sent by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) ordering Facebook to halt its data transfer activities from Europe to the United States, the social networking platform may be changing its data practices in the continent, notes The Telegraph.

The Irish watchdog’s order comes as the DPC issued a probe “into Facebook controlled EU-US data transfers, and has suggested that SCCs cannot in practice be used for EU-US data transfers.”

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News of the crackdown comes as other European regulators voice their concerns over such transfers, with the information possibly being used as surveillance leverage by the United States government.

Facebook May Change Data Practices

However, Reuters said that in response to the preliminary order given by the Irish watchdog, the social media network said in a blog post that it “will continue to transfer data in compliance with the recent CJEU ruling and until we receive further guidance.”

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Based on its blog post, the social media giant maintains that its Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) allow for such provisions and data transfers to commence and such practices have been deemed valid by the Court Justice of the European Union last July, notes Reuters.

“If followed, it could have a far-reaching effect on businesses that rely on SCCs and on the online services many people and businesses rely on,” continued Facebook in its blog post.

The issue has been confirmed by Facebook’s vice president of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg. Clegg also penned the blog post.

According to Tech Crunch, the change in cross-border information transfer practices could drastically affect startup companies in Europe, with most local businesses in the continent having difficulties in using cloud providers in the United States. This issue could also lead local companies to fail to run their business operations across different time zones.

In light of these events, Tech Crunch states Clegg appeals to the regulatory commission and the public at large, saying there is a need for leniency regarding the matter, citing businesses who rely on Facebook and who are wholly separate entities from the issue at hand.

In this, Clegg maintains, “While policymakers are working towards a sustainable, long-term solution, we urge regulators to adopt a proportionate and pragmatic approach to minimise disruption to the many thousands of businesses who, like Facebook, have been relying on these mechanisms in good faith to transfer data in a safe and secure way.”

Facebook has been given by the Commission until the end of September to contest the order issued. As of writing, however, The New York Times states that the Irish watchdog has yet to issue a statement on the matter.

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