Thursday 24 January 2019

Supreme Court gives go-ahead for social media giant to appeal against data ruling

Stock Image: PA
Stock Image: PA

Tim Healy

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an unprecedented appeal by Facebook on a case concerning the validity of EU-US data transfer channels.

The social media giant is appealing a High Court judge's decision to refer the matters to the European Court of Justice.

The five-judge Supreme Court yesterday said it would hear the appeal as a matter of urgency before the end of this year.

Last May, the High Court's Ms Justice Caroline Costello directed a referral "immediately" to the European Court of Justice of 11 issues, concerning the validity of European Commission decisions approving data transfer channels known as Standard Contractual Clauses.

The questions raise significant issues of EU law with huge implications, including whether the High Court was correct in finding there is "mass indiscriminate processing" of data by US government agencies under the PRISM and Upstream programmes authorised there.

If Facebook persuades the Supreme Court to make certain orders in its appeal, those could only be of value if the Supreme Court judgment is delivered well in advance of the likely hearing before the European Court of Justice , the Chief Justice Frank Clarke stressed.

The grounds of appeal include whether or not there is any entitlement in the first place to appeal a reference decision made by the High Court.

The Chief Justice said that there can be cases where there may be a significant dispute as to whether an appeal is permissible.

Facebook disputes certain findings of fact by Ms Justice Costello grounding the reference, which it claims are wrong.

Irish Independent

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