Scheller College of Business Privacy Expert Peter Swire Summarizes Recent Privacy Ruling in Facebook CaseJanuary 14, 20202 min read
In the latest round of legal decisions on the enforcement of international privacy laws between the EU and the U.S., Peter Swire, professor of Law and Ethics at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, and associate director for Policy of the Georgia Tech Institute for Information Security and Privacy looks at how the EU may examine foreign intelligence surveillance in his article “Foreign Intelligence and Other Issues in the Initial Opinion in Schrems II” in Lawfare. The Schrems II case is the subject of the recent opinion from Advocate General (AG) Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
In the case, Austrian lawyer Max Schrems challenged Facebook’s ability to transfer personal data from the EU to the United States using the standard contractual clauses, which exist where a company such as Facebook follows EU-level privacy standards when private data is transferred outside of Europe. Schrems’s specific claim is that he cannot access any files that the National Security Agency (NSA) may have collected about him and lacks legal redress for any violation of his rights under EU law.
Swire writes that the case examines the transfer of an individual’s personal data from the European Union to the United States using the standard contractual clauses and the Privacy Shield, which was negotiated in 2016 by the U.S. and the EU for privacy data transfers to the United States specifically. Facebook’s headquarters are in Ireland, and the Irish High Court ruled in favor of Schrems and certified 11 broad questions to the CJEU. The AG opinion published this week concerns this appeal in Schrems II from the Irish High Court. If Schrems wins this appeal, then many flows of personal data from the EU to the U.S. may become illegal.
Swire’s expertise in U.S. privacy laws is extensive. He is a sought after privacy expert and he has been highlighted in Bloomberg Law, Le Monde, LawFare and numerous scholarly publications. He has appointments by courtesy with the College of Computing and School of Public Policy and is Senior Counsel with Alston & Bird, LLP.
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