Safe Harbor Swept Away – CJEU Delivers its Ruling on Schrems Case

The Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) has delivered its much anticipated ruling in the case of Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner.

On the substantive questions referred to the CJEU from the Irish High Court in that case, the CJEU has followed the recommendations set out in Advocate General Bot’s Opinion of 23 September 2015 (summarised in our article here), finding, in essence, that the existence of Commission Decision 2000/520/EC (approving the Safe Harbor scheme) does not prevent the Irish Data Protection Commissioner from investigating a claim as to the adequacy of the level of protection for personal data transferred by Facebook under that scheme to the United States.

More significantly, the CJEU has also followed AG Bot’s recommendation that Decision 2000/520/EC (ie the Safe Harbor scheme) be declared invalid.

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