Advocate General: US is not a “safe harbour” for European data

die-suesseste-versuchung-aufNot our usual stuff – but (given that this is an important new area of human rights law) certainly worth reporting: Europe seems on the verge of a major break-through in the area of data protection.

In the case of Maximillian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner (C-362/14), Advocate General Yves Bot (who is known to our readers because he also made a ground-breaking contribution to the famous Brüstle v. Greenpeace Decision) has today issued his legal opinion, according which the United States cannot be considered a “safe harbour” for the data of European consumers.

If the Court follows the opinion of the Advocate General (which seems very likely), then the practical impact of the decision would be enormous: not only Facebook (the true target of Mr. Schrems’s legal action), but all US-based companies, would have to give up their practice of storing European consumers’ personal data in the US, where US secret services have unlimited access to them. Instead they would have to store them in the EU.

Read a press release here and the full text of the Attorney General’s opinion here.