Last week, the Vienna Higher Regional Court ruled that most of Max Schrems’ claims against Facebook can proceed, including his claim that Facebook improperly allowed his personal information to be shared with the National Security Agency. So his case can move forward, but the court did not allow him to represent other claimants in a class action type lawsuit, as Austria does not recognize class action lawsuits. However, he was given the right to appeal that issue as it is one of first impression, which he publicly stated he would do.
The German data privacy commissioner has issued a press release stating that, as a consequence to the European Court of Justice’s (EJC) verdict, the federal commissioner should “leverage existing opportunities to strengthen data protection for European citizens in a sustainable way.”
The commissioner, Andrea Voßhoff, stated that she expects a clear signal from the European Commission in response to the ruling of the ECJ and progress in the negotiations with the United States. She welcomed the period granted by the Art 29 Working Party until the end of January 2016.
She also urged the U.S. to take this chance to substantially improve protection of fundamental rights to European citizens for data transfers from Europe to the United States and commented that the Judicial Redress Bill, which has passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, is a first step while further commenting that it is not sufficient in its current version.
Finally, the privacy commissioner stated that affected companies need to be aware that data transfers solely on the basis of safe harbor are immediately unlawful until the end of January 2016, and clarification is required on legal issues and the consequences of other existing methods for data transfer to third countries such as Binding Corporate Rules (BCR) and EU model clauses.