The company said that this case “is not about Facebook” and ” the Advocate General himself said that Facebook has done nothing wrong.”
Safe Harbor was what allowed companies in the EU and US, like Facebook, Google and Microsoft, to move users’ information and data between facilities in different countries. The legality of this process was challenged after Edward Snowden’s infamous leak about the NSA and the US government’s potential spying methods.
Facebook’s statement goes on to say that the problem really is “one of the mechanisms that European law provides to enable essential transatlantic data flows” and that it’s now “imperative that EU and US governments ensure that they continue to provide reliable methods for lawful data transfers” as many companies like the social network rely on both European and the US governments to provide safe methods of transfer.
It is comforting to know that Facebook isn’t relying on Safe Harbor to do these types of data transfers. However, the fact is has been determined invalid won’t necessarily mean that the transatlantic transfers stop taking place.
While Facebook may not rely on Safe Harbor, it is central to this case. Safe Harbor was called into question when privacy activist Max Schrems brought a lawsuit against the social network, which he believes violated his privacy as a direct result of the NSA’s mass surveillance programs.
Schrems’ case against Facebook was originally thrown out in Ireland under Safe Harbor, but now the European Court of Justice has ruled his suit is valid and it will now be put to Irish authorities to make the decision on whether Facebook’s data is geting an adequate level of protection during transfers. If it is determined to be at risk, the transfer of such data will be suspended indefinitely.
So, it’s unlikely that this will be the last statement from Facebook regarding the topic.