Press release welcoming the increased budget for 2017 for the OIC, which is a 59% increase in the budget. In the press release, this increased budget is directly linked by the Commissioner to both the GDPR and the expanding role of the Irish DPA under that regime, where it becomes responsible for” protecting the fundamental privacy rights of EU citizens, a core part of which is the regulation of a large number of leading internet multi-nationals that have located European operations in Ireland.”
On 31 May 2016, the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) commenced proceedings in the Irish High Court. The purpose of the proceedings is to seek a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in relation to the “standard contractual clauses” mechanism under which, at present, personal data can be transferred from the EU to the US.
While the DPC does not seek any specific relief against Mr Schrems or Facebook Ireland Limited (FB), both of those parties were joined to the proceedings because the outcome of the case will impact on the DPC’s consideration of Mr Schrems’ complaint against Facebook (see further below). By joining Mr Schrems and FB to the proceedings, the DPC also ensured that those parties would have an opportunity (but not an obligation) to participate in the proceedings.
The purpose of this note is to explain the background to the case, the reasons why the DPC has taken the case and the current position in the High Court as of September 2016.
The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner issued a press release announcing that:
“We continue to thoroughly and diligently investigate Mr Schrems’ complaint to ensure the adequate protection of personal data. We yesterday informed Mr Schrems and Facebook of our intention to seek declaratory relief in the Irish High Court and a referral to the CJEU to determine the legal status of data transfers under Standard Contractual Clauses. We will update all relevant parties as our investigation continues.”