Facebook said it might stop operating in Europe if the EU suspends all data transfers to the US

European regulators are cracking down on Facebook’s ability to transfer data across the Atlantic. Now the tech giant is threatening to pull its services from more than 400 million European users.

CORK, Ireland — Facebook has threatened to pack up its toys and go home if European regulators don’t back down and let the social network get its own way.

In a court filing in Dublin, Facebook said that a decision by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) would force the company to pull up stakes and leave the 410 million people who use Facebook and photo-sharing service Instagram in the lurch.

 

If the decision is upheld, “it is not clear to [Facebook] how, in those circumstances, it could continue to provide the Facebook and Instagram services in the EU,” Yvonne Cunnane, who is Facebook Ireland’s head of data protection and associate general counsel, wrote in a sworn affidavit.

The decision Facebook’s referring to is a preliminary order handed down last month to stop the transfer of data about European customers to servers in the U.S., over concerns about U.S. government surveillance of the data.

Facebook hit back by filing a lawsuit challenging the Irish DPC’s ban, and in a sworn affidavit filed this week, the company leveled some very serious accusations about the Irish data-protection commissioner, including a lack of fairness and apparent bias in singling out Facebook.

Cunnane points out that Facebook was given only three weeks to respond to the decision, a period that is “manifestly inadequate,” adding that Facebook wasn’t contacted about the inquiry prior to judgment being handed down.

She also raises concerns about the decision being made “solely” by Helen Dixon, Ireland’s data protection commissioner.

“The fact one person is responsible for the entire process is relevant to [Facebook’s] concerns, in respect of the inadequacy of the investigative process engaged in and independence of the ultimate decision-making process,” Cunnane wrote.

Cunnane also complains that Facebook is being singled out, noting no other big tech company using similar methods to transfer data to the U.S. from the EU is under the same scrutiny

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