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ECJ rejects Safe Harbour Agreement used by US tech companies

6 October 2015

The European Court of Justice has decided that the transatlantic Safe Harbour agreement which lets American companies use a single standard for consumer privacy and data storage in both the US and Europe is invalid.

The ruling comes after the Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems brought a case against Facebook Ireland (Facebook’s European headquarters). He said that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, which were famously uncovered by Edward Snowden, infringed on his privacy.

Schrems’s case was initially rejected by the Data Protection Commissioner, Ireland's data regulator, because it was subject to the Safe Harbour agreement. Schrems appealed the decision, resulting in the current – final – ruling by the European Court of Justice.