DATA Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes will take no action against the Irish-based subsidiaries of Facebook and Apple – who stand accused of handing over personal data of hundreds of millions of Europeans to national security organisations in the US via their parent companies.
The decision is set to cause ructions with other European countries, notably Germany, which has been infuriated over revelations that the US accesses the data of EU citizens.
Mr Hawkes (below) responded to complaints filed against the two multinationals by the Vienna-based organisation Europe v Facebook.
He said he cannot act on the basis of the precedent set by the European Commission‘s own ‘Safe Harbour’ decision brought in 13 years ago.
Under the Safe Harbour directive, American companies in Europe can only give data such as a person’s emails or phone call records to US authorities if the US fulfils a number of criteria such as protecting the information, and doesn’t pass it on to a third party.
Last month, however, the whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed how US firms pass on user data to the American government as a matter of course. Those disclosures have raised doubts about whether the US fills those criteria.
Many of the companies that have passed data on to the US, such as Apple and Facebook, have their European headquarters in Ireland, so are regulated by Mr Hawkes and the DPC………………..
By Thomás Aengus O Cléirigh
This is total bullshit! Here we have american multi nationals who are paying next to no tax on their enormous profits here in Ireland and are using questionable accountancy tactics that enable them to side step paying taxes in their own countries using their substantial mussel forcing the puppet Irish Goverement to comply with their wishes .Personal information of citizens of this country is been sent to the USA and this twit says he cannot do anything about it ??? what a cop-out! Multi Nationals are running rings around Irish Law
- Irish privacy watchdog dismisses security agency complaint (irishtimes.com)
- Apple, Facebook will not face scrutiny over NSA surveillance (techcentral.ie)
- European companies should stop sending data to the US, German privacy officials say (refreshingnews99.blogspot.com)