In a case about privacy issue brought by privacy campaigner, Maximilian Schrems, EC advocate Bernhard Schima, warned EU citizens that they might want to consider closing their Facebook accounts since the Safe Harbour framework cannot protect them on privacy as the data is sent to United States and the framework no longer applies in USA.

EC stands for European Committee and Safe Harbour framework is meant to protect EU citizens’ privacy. The framework took effect in October 1998 and it would prohibit the transfer of personal data to non-European Union countries that do not meet European Union (EU) adequacy standard for privacy protection.

The case of “the Facebook data privacy case” is about the concern of transmitting EU citizens’ personal data to US. The case lodged complaints against Apple, Facebook,Microsoft, Skype as well as Yahoo.  The case arises after the US government’s Prism data collection programme which leaked by Edward Snowden in the NSA files, which means that the EU citizens’ data held by US companies passed to US intelligence agencies and therefore break the EU’’s Data Protection Directive standard for data protection.

EC argument on this case is that the framework is necessary to maintain both political and economic stability between the countries and it can be further improved.  An opinion on Safe Harbour framework from ECJ is expected by 24 June. Facebook declined to comment regarding the issue.

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