European Court Rules Against Facebook's International Data Shipping Policies

By Gary Cutlack on at

The European Court of [Ultimate] Justice has ruled against one of the mainstays of Facebook's EU/US data pipeline agreements, finding that the "Safe Harbour" policy under which it shuffles all our likes, comments and photos to the US, is impeding the privacy process.

The Safe Harbour agreement was put together back in the year 2000 to provide a framework under which the international tech giants could shovel vast quantities of EU data to the US, letting the companies involved promise to adhere to our data protection guidelines even when our photos are transferred to a server farm in Alaska for tagging.

That promise is not enough in this day and age says the ECJ now, with judges saying that the agreement stops EU data protection watchdogs from intervening in complaints made by citizens who say their privacy has been invaded in some modern manner.

The decision will cause no end of trouble to companies that use the Safe Harbour-certified badge as approval to do whatever they want with our data. In its place, the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon and the other modern tech gods, will have to put individual policies in place to cover each data "transaction" to ensure they remain lawful rather than applying the bulk Safe Harbour clauses, which could drive up their costs.

So we'll probably end up seeing more adverts around the edges of everything we do, as the end result. [BBC]