A  ground-breaking decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has invalidated the Safe Harbor agreement meaning that transfer of personal data via Facebook to the USA is now illegal. The justification for the decision is mass surveillance by the NSA.

MEP Cornelia Ernst, spokesperson for data protection and home affairs for the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament, commented the decision:

“Today is a good day for the EU's fundamental values. First of all I would like to congratulate Max Schrems, who has done more for European data protection than anybody else. With this court case, he succeeded in denouncing the Safe Harbor Agreement as invalid – something the European Parliament with several resolutions failed to achieve.

“The Court ruled that a decision by the EU Commission cannot absolve a Data Protection Supervisor from its duty to check whether Facebook, for example, is playing according to the rules of European data protection. Further the Court made clear that the Commission cannot act as if a unique agreement like Safe Harbor ensures that the data protection rules of another country guarantee an adequate protection of European personal data. The Court clearly decided that how a country such as the USA deals with personal data has to be examined. Therefore this decision is a defeat for the EU Commission. According to the judges of the European Court of Justice in Luxemburg, the Commission did not do its job properly.

“I mentioned several times in the past years that Safe Harbor does not guarantee an adequate protection of our personal data,. This has become even more obvious to everyone – the Commission, governments, corporations and citizens – particularly since the revelations of Edward Snowden.

“The European Court of Justice today took an important decision giving three clear signals: First, that the mass surveillance conducted by the NSA is not compatible with our fundamental rights. Second, that the EU Commission cannot ignore these facts and has the responsibility to intervene, which it hasn't done so far. Third, it is a signal for the USA that Europe defends its rules and regulations and that we are serious about protecting ourselves against snooping by the USA.”

GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

Nikki Sullings + 32 483 03 55 75

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