Facebook fails in bid to stall referral of questions from Schrems case to CJEU

The High Court has ruled that Facebook cannot stall the referral of 11 questions on EU-US data transfers to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), The Irish Times reports.

Ms Justice Caroline Costello agreed last October to a request from the Data Protection Commissioner to make the referral following a complaint by Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems about Facebook’s use of so-called standard contractual clauses (SCCs) to transfer personal data from Europe to the US.

Facebook sought a stay on the referral pending the outcome of its application to the Supreme Court for an appeal against the decision.

However, Ms Justice Costello said the referral must proceed immediately to avoid prejudice to the rights of millions of data users.

The 11 questions include whether the High Court correctly found that there is “mass indiscriminate processing” of data by US government agencies under the Prism and Upstream programmes.

Others include whether the Privacy Shield Decision affords adequate protection for EU citizens; the extent of a data protection authority’s power to suspend data flows where it believes a third country’s surveillance laws conflict with EU law; which laws a breach of an EU citizen’s data privacy rights must be measured against; and whether articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter are being breached.