Facebook may have to temporarily suspend transfer of data belonging to its European users to the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC) reportedly issued a preliminary order last month to suspend such data transfer since a key mechanism to send data from the EU to non-member countries — standard contractual clauses (SCC) — which is used by Facebook, is no longer considered valid by the DPC. Nick Clegg, Facebook's global head of policy and communications, confirmed to WSJ that the DPC, as part of an ongoing inquiry, has suggested that Facebook could no longer conduct EU-US data transfers using standard contractual clauses. In a blog post published the same day, Clegg was a lot less clear about whether Facebook would indeed follow, or reject, the DPC's order, only to say that DPC's order, if followed, could have "far reaching consequences" on businesses (more on this below). In case Facebook is forced to follow the DPC's orders, the company would have to restructure its data management systems. In case it failed to comply, the DPC has the power to fine Facebook up to 4% of its annual revenue under the GDPR. Background: Why is data transfer between EU and the US a hot topic? Earlier in July, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had issued a judgement restricting how multinational companies could send personal information pertaining to their European users to the territorial jurisdiction of US. It had invalidated a…
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