DPC has one month to make order on Facebook data transfers

14 Apr 2023

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Meta has previously warned that it may have to suspend its services in Europe if regulation around EU-US data transfers does not come to fruition.

Ireland’s data authority has one month to make an order on Meta’s data transfers from the EU to the US, according to the EU’s key GDPR regulator.

The issue is around the legality of Meta’s data transfers to the US for Facebook. Concerns have been previously raised by EU authorities that the data protection in the US is insufficient to be compliant with GDPR.

A draft decision was issued by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission on this issue, but objections were raised by several other data authorities in Europe.

As a result, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has issued a binding decision on the matter, and the DPC has to adopt the decision within a month “at the latest”.

The EDPB statement did not say what the decision was, but data protection commissioner Helen Dixon has said other regulators didn’t dispute her order to ban the data transfer mechanism, Reuters reports.

The EDPB said its binding decision settled a dispute on whether an administrative fine and/or an additional order to bring processing into compliance should be included in the DPC’s final decision.

The European regulator said it will post the final decision on its website once Ireland’s DPC has issued the decision to Meta.

In January, the EDPB criticised how the DPC investigated Meta’s handling of personal data and claimed the Irish regulator did not assess the processing of sensitive data in its investigation.

EU-US data transfers

Meta has previously warned that it may have to pull Facebook and Instagram from the EU market if regulation around data transfers between Europe and the US does not come to fruition.

The EU is currently in the process of approving a new framework for safe data transfers with the US. This followed an executive order by US president Joe Biden last October showing the steps the US will take to implement its commitments under the EU-US Data Privacy Framework (DPF).

The DPF is a joint effort by the EU and the US to balance both bodies’ reliance on cross-border and transatlantic data flows for economic purposes with citizens’ privacy and civil liberties. The new framework could be ready by July, Reuters reports.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic