Facebook’s parent company Meta said it is considering shutting down Facebook, as well as Instagram in Europe if it can’t keep transferring user data back to the U.S.
The company issued the warning in its annual report several days ago. Presently, regulators in Europe are working on new legislation regarding EU citizens’ user data.
This week, the company’s spokesperson stated that Meta has no desire and no plans to withdraw from Europe. Its spokesperson also mentioned that the company raised the same concerns in previous filings.
In 2020, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission sent the company a preliminary order. The commission ordered the company to stop transferring user data from the EU to the U.S. The commission is expected to issue a final decision in the first half of the year.
If standard contractual clauses (SCCs) can’t be used as the legal basis for transferring data, the company would have to silo off the majority of the data it collects on European users. In fact, the commission could fine Meta up to 4% of its annual revenue, or $2.8 if it failed to comply.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) made a historic decision. In 2020, it ruled that the data transfer standard between the EU and the U.S. doesn’t protect European citizens’ privacy.
The European Court of Justice restricted how companies from the U.S. could send European user data to the U.S. Moreover, the court came to the conclusion that EU citizens had no effective way to challenge surveillance by the American government.
Its ruling came after Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems filed a lawsuit arguing that U.S. law didn’t offer sufficient protection against surveillance by public authorities. The ECJ’s ruling invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield agreement. Thus, companies had to rely on SCCs.
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