Banning transatlantic data transfers to cost £120bn

facebook 1Facebook claims that a move to ban alternative transatlantic data transfer methods could cost companies tens of billions of pounds a year, despite the EU finally approving the controversial Privacy Shield agreement.
While the term “standard contract clauses” does not exactly roll off the tongue, in data transfer circles they are big business.
And a draft finding by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner that existing EU-US data transfer channels are invalid on grounds of inadequate US legal protections for EU citizens’ privacy rights could cost €143bn (£120bn) a year, Facebook Ireland has claimed before the High Court in Dublin.
The claim came as the US government made an unprecedented application in the Irish courts, to join the action by commissioner Helen Dixon aimed at establishing the legality of SCCs being used for daily EU-US data transfers.
SCCs were approved under European Commission decisions of 2001, 2004 and 2010, but doubts about their validity have mounted after claims about US mass surveillance by the National Security Agency.
Paul Gallagher, counsel for Facebook Ireland, claims the case has enormous implications for Ireland, the EU and globally. It was conservatively estimated by the US trade group the BSA, if SCCs were found invalid, that would have a negative impact of some 1% on European gross domestic product (GDP).
While the court “of course has to apply the law even if the heavens fall in”, it should know to what extent the heavens might fall in on the basis of its decision, he said.

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