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Ireland unfriends Facebook: Oh Zucky Boy, the pipes, the pipes are closing…from glen to US, and through the EU-side

Anti-social network asked to stop piping Irish uncles' mutterings to America

Facebook has been reportedly asked to stop sending data from Ireland to the US, on orders from the EU.

This is according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, which said that Irish eyes won't be smiling come this Fall after a preliminary order to suspend data transfers to the US about its users was sent to Mark Zuckerberg's firm by the Irish Data Protection Commission.

The news comes in the wake of an EU court ruling two months ago that transatlantic data protection arrangements - known as Privacy Shield - were "inadequate".

While last July's ruling did not strike down the Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) used as opt-outs by many companies, it seems likely that will come under the gaze of the courts before long.

Child wearing a suit and using a computer

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The ruling, it is said, would be particularly bad for the Social Network as it would require the company to silo off most of the data it collects from EU punters and keep it away from prying American firms governed by lax US privacy laws. Should Facebook fail to comply, it faces fines based on its revenues.

If the preliminary ban holds up - which by implication would apply to all EU member states - it could impact thousands of US companies.

It doesn't look like this legal wrangling will end anytime soon, as Facebook has claimed to The Register that it has the legal high ground.

Facebook spokesman Nick Clegg offered the following in response, referring to what he said were allowed standard contract clauses that send data from Ireland to the US:

"Like many other businesses, Facebook relies on SCCs to transfer data to countries outside the EU, including to the United States. Since the CJEU’s ruling in July, Facebook has been working hard to follow the steps set out by the Court to ensure that we can continue to transfer data in a safe and secure way," he said.

"This includes ensuring that we have robust safeguards in place, such as industry standard encryption and security measures, and comprehensive policies governing how we respond to legal requests for data." ®

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