Sunday 8 December 2019

€10k legal costs limit set in Facebook complaint case

Austrian law student Max Schrems
Austrian law student Max Schrems

Tim Healy

PRIVACY campaigner Max Schrems will have to pay no more than €10,000 in legal costs if he loses his complaint about the mass transfer of data by Facebook Ireland to the US intelligence services, a judge has ruled.

In what is known as a "protective costs order", Mr Justice Gerard Hogan applied a €10,000 limit to costs of the Austria-based law student's legal challenge to the Data Protection Commissioner's refusal to deal with a complaint over the data transfer issue.

The judge said that rather than give a protective costs order for €55,000 – as sought by the Data Commissioner in recognition of the amount Mr Schrems has obtained through a fundraising campaign – he would limit it to €10,000.

The judge said as a post-graduate law student in his 20s, on the cusp of his career, Mr Schrems was somebody who was very likely to be exercised by the prospect of legal costs.

The judge was also conscious that the €55,000 from public fundraising was not entirely under Mr Schrems' control.

The complaint was lodged following revelations made by former US security contractor Edward Snowden, about the manner in which US authorities access personal data of non-US citizens on a mass and undifferentiated basis. Mr Schrems is part of the "Europe v Facebook" campaign, which raised funds for him to make the complaint.

Irish Independent

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