Will Facebook and Instagram be inaccessible in Europe within a month?

Will Facebook and Instagram be inaccessible in Europe within a month?

The Irish data protection authority wants to block the exchange of European user data with the US. Meta had previously warned that such a move would shut down many of its services in Europe.

(Boursier.com) – Another step to closing in Europe? As Meta had already questioned, last February Europe’s strict personal data protection laws, which are far less flexible than US rules, sparked a new conflict between the social networking giant and the Irish Data Protection Authority.

According to ‘Politico’, the Data Protection Commission (DPC), Ireland’s equivalent of Cnil, will block the exchange of European user data with the US. Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, has warned on several occasions that such a move could lead to the shutdown of many of its services in Europe.

US media, which has been able to consult documents confirmed by the Irish regulator, reports that all its local equivalents, including France’s National Commission for Computing and Liberties, have been notified. A spokesman for the DPC said a draft decision had been sent to its European counterparts, who had a month to comment before the ban came into effect.

“Privacy Shield” will expire in 2020

These data transfers between Europe and the US are critical for the Californian company, which centralizes user data and distributes it across all its storage centers around the world. The subject of data transfer is not new…

In July 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) invalidated the “Privacy Shield”, the exchange framework Meta relied on for data transferred from the EU to the US. He actually considered that personal data is less protected on US soil than in Europe and that this deal is against the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Since then, another system allowing US companies to transfer personal data to the US is called the “Standard Contractual Clauses” (SCC). However, the Irish Data Protection Authority considers the tool used by Meta to be insufficient and does not address the problem of US surveillance.

New text regulating data exchange

In order to avoid the shutdown of Meta services in Europe, where Facebook has 309 million monthly active users, the United States and the European Union are developing a new text to regulate the transfer of data abroad. Although political agreement was reached last March, negotiations on legal details continue and the text may not be finalized before the end of the year.

Mark Zuckerberg’s company wants to make sure. “This draft decision, which is being reviewed by European data protection authorities, concerns a conflict between European and US law, which is in the process of being resolved,” explained a spokesperson for Meta.

“We welcome the EU-US agreement on a new legal framework enabling seamless data exchange across borders, and we believe this framework will allow families, communities and economies to connect,” he added.

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