Ireland’s Data Protection Commission in August ordered Facebook to stop sending data about its European Union users to the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The preliminary order could have massive ramifications on Facebook’s operations in the EU, with the tech giant being fined if it fails to comply with the decree.
In July, the European Court of Justice issued new restrictions for companies that store data of EU residents on American servers. The EU’s top court said that data transfers to the U.S. could violate the privacy of Europeans and subject their information to U.S. surveillance.
The July ruling invalidated a data transfer mechanism known as the U.S.- EU Privacy Shield. The mechanism offers legal protection for transatlantic transfers of EU data and is relied on by major tech companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook.
In May 2018, the EU implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which requires businesses to protect personal data. Big tech companies have been forced to rework their user privacy policies since the regulation was introduced.
In February, Google announced that users in the U.K. would lose EU data protection, and would be put under U.S. jurisdiction. The decision was due to the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU.
Big tech companies have also faced privacy troubles in the U.S. In July 2019, the Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook $5 billion due to data privacy violations.