Why the Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s case against Facebook matters

Chaos would ensue if data transfers worth over $250bn annually are halted

Donald Trump: he’s already declaring that foreigners are not entitled to the  privacy protections afforded US citizens’ data.  Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Donald Trump: he’s already declaring that foreigners are not entitled to the privacy protections afforded US citizens’ data. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

As a major case of international import opens in the Irish Commercial Court this week – that of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner against Facebook – the future of transatlantic data transfers, and of US/EU data transfer agreement Privacy Shield, are again under scrutiny.

Those data transfers, said to be worth more than $250 billion annually, are a ubiquitous part of doing business in every sector of every market. If halted, utter chaos would ensue – a kind of inverted Muslim ban for data, in which EU data would be refused entry to the US despite the US being more than eager to welcome it. 

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