EU Facebook ruling a 'strong signal' for rights protection: Germany

6th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

The EU top court's decision to strike down a transatlantic data sharing deal relied on by companies such as Facebook sends a "strong signal for fundamental rights protection in Europe," Germany's justice minister said Tuesday.

"Those who offer products or services in the EU must adhere to EU data protection rights -- no matter where the (computer) server is," said Heiko Maas in a statement.

The stunning ruling came after a challenge lodged by an Austrian law student and privacy campaigner against Facebook over the transfer of European users' data from its Ireland headquarters to servers in the United States.

Companies such as Facebook had relied on the "Safe Harbour" agreement, but the court said the deal struck in 2000 between the United States and the EU did not sufficiently guarantee the protection of Europeans' personal data and must be struck out.

Maas said the ruling was also "a mandate for the European Commission to fight for our data protection standards internationally".

Data belonging to European users must "also be effectively protected in the US," he said, adding that negotiations must be launched "immediately" with Washington following the ruling.

© 2015 AFP

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