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MEPs want EU to ‘punish’ Ireland over Facebook data protection case

MEPs have asked the European Commission to launch proceedings against Ireland, saying GDPR rights were not enforced in a significant privacy case against Facebook, the Irish Independent reports. 

They want the EU to punish Ireland for what they believe was a failure to ensure privacy rights – and mishandling a high profile case taken by activist Max Schrems against the social media giant.

A finding of infringement can bring court cases and significant fines for the country involved.

The Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament said they were disappointed with Ireland’s data protection commission, that they believed it operated too slowly  – and that it should have tackled Facebook in the Schrems case, rather than referring the matter to the EU courts.

Mr Schrems argued that Facebook’s European subsidiary, which is based in Dublin, was in breach of EU privacy laws by transferring the personal data of European users for processing in the US

He was scathing about Ireland’s data protection commission saying: “fundamentally, their procedures don’t work, it’s a huge procedural mess”.

The EU Court of Justice ruled in favour of Mr Schrems in the case saying that data transfers of personal information to the US were illegal largely because of invasive US surveillance programmes.

The European Parliament will now vote on the Committee’s resolution to punish Ireland.

The move comes after news of a possible mass action lawsuit against Facebook after an enormous dump of hacked information from the platform was made available on a hacking forum.

Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) is seeking to sue the social media giant on behalf of thousands of people whose personal information had been leaked online. Information on some 533m Facebook users from 106 countries was impacted.


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