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Facebook user takes personal data collection to EU’s highest court

Maximilian Schrems, an Australian law student and Facebook user, has taken his case against the social media giant to the European Union’s highest court.

Schrems is fighting against a privacy campaign that will prevent US intelligence agencies from gaining access to personal data.

His case, which was brought against Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, could play a part in shaping future international regulation over access to and ownership of online information.

The case began before US whistleblower, Edward Snowden, revealed that the US National Security Agency often intercepted data from telephones, emails and social media.

Schrems’ initial complaint was to Facebook about his own personal information. His complaint stemmed from the 1,222 pages of information he obtained in 2011 from the US company whose European headquarters are in Dublin.

Schrems’ case has been crowdfunded. He maintains that companies inside the EU should not be legally allowed to transfer data to the US under the current Safe Harbour protection, which states that American data protection rules are enough if the data transfers are passed by companies on a “self-certify” basis.

Schrems says that the Safe Harbour designation under EU low should be cancelled and that the Irish DPC should audit the information rather than allow it to be sent unexamined.


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