Facebook: Irish data ruling could cost Europe €143bn a year

The legality of data transfers between the EU and US have been questioned after Edward Snowden's leaking of NSA documents

Facebook: Irish data ruling could cost Europe €143bn a year

Ben Margot / AP

Facebook has claimed that a draft finding from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner could cost the European economy €143bn a year if it is upheld.

The case relates to the transfer of data through Ireland between the EU and the US. These have been carried out through Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) which were approved in 2001, 2004 and 2010 - however revelations contained in the documents made public by NAS whistleblower Edward Snowden have brought the legality of these agreements into question.

The Irish Independent reports that the US government has made an unprecedented application to join the action which has massive implications as it is likely to evaluate the legality of data transfers between the EU and the UK.

It joins a number of high-profile business and civil liberties groups from across the Europe and the US - Judge Brian McGovern will rule on these applications later in this month.

The findings of the case are also likely to raise questions over whether European users are protected from breaches of privacy under US law.

Senior Council for Facebook Ireland, Paul Gallagher reiterated the international importance of this case - and said that if the standing agreements are discovered to not be valid, it will cut the EU's GDP by 1% or €143bn annually.