Steve Peers, Professor of EU and Human Rights Law at the University of Essex, writes:
A brilliant university student takes on the hidebound establishment – and ultimately wins spectacularly. That was Mark Zuckerberg, founding Facebook, in 2002. But it could be Max Schrems, taking on Zuckerberg and Facebook, in the near future – if the Court of Justice decides to follow the Advocate-General’s opinion in the Schrems case, released today.
In fact, Facebook is only a conduit in this case: Schrems’ real targets are the US government (for requiring Facebook and other Internet companies to hand over personal data to intelligence agencies), as well as the EU Commission and the Irish data protection authority for going along with this. In the Advocate-General’s opinion, the Commission’s decision to allow EU citizens’ data to be subject to mass surveillance in the US is invalid, and the national data protection authorities in the EU must investigate these flows of data and prohibit them if necessary. The case has the potential to change much of the way that American Internet giants operate, and to complicate relations between the US and the EU in this field.
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