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CJEU Case C-311/13 / Judgment

Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland Limited and Maximillian Schrems

Policy area:
Information society
Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Court (Grand Chamber)
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
16/07/2020
ECLI:
ECLI:EU:C:2020:559

Key facts of the case:

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data — Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Articles 7, 8 and 47 — Regulation (EU) 2016/679 — Article 2(2) — Scope — Transfers of personal data to third countries for commercial purposes — Article 45 — Commission adequacy decision — Article 46 — Transfers subject to appropriate safeguards — Article 58 — Powers of the supervisory authorities — Processing of the data transferred by the public authorities of a third country for national security purposes — Assessment of the adequacy of the level of protection in the third country — Decision 2010/87/EU — Protective standard clauses on the transfer of personal data to third countries — Suitable safeguards provided by the data controller — Validity — Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/1250 — Adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-US Privacy Shield — Validity — Complaint by a natural person whose data was transferred from the European Union to the United States.

Outcome of the case:

On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

  1. Article 2(1) and (2) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation), must be interpreted as meaning that that regulation applies to the transfer of personal data for commercial purposes by an economic operator established in a Member State to another economic operator established in a third country, irrespective of whether, at the time of that transfer or thereafter, that data is liable to be processed by the authorities of the third country in question for the purposes of public security, defence and State security.
  2. Article 46(1) and Article 46(2)(c) of Regulation 2016/679 must be interpreted as meaning that the appropriate safeguards, enforceable rights and effective legal remedies required by those provisions must ensure that data subjects whose personal data are transferred to a third country pursuant to standard data protection clauses are afforded a level of protection essentially equivalent to that guaranteed within the European Union by that regulation, read in the light of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. To that end, the assessment of the level of protection afforded in the context of such a transfer must, in particular, take into consideration both the contractual clauses agreed between the controller or processor established in the European Union and the recipient of the transfer established in the third country concerned and, as regards any access by the public authorities of that third country to the personal data transferred, the relevant aspects of the legal system of that third country, in particular those set out, in a non-exhaustive manner, in Article 45(2) of that regulation.
  3. Article 58(2)(f) and (j) of Regulation 2016/679 must be interpreted as meaning that, unless there is a valid European Commission adequacy decision, the competent supervisory authority is required to suspend or prohibit a transfer of data to a third country pursuant to standard data protection clauses adopted by the Commission, if, in the view of that supervisory authority and in the light of all the circumstances of that transfer, those clauses are not or cannot be complied with in that third country and the protection of the data transferred that is required by EU law, in particular by Articles 45 and 46 of that regulation and by the Charter of Fundamental Rights, cannot be ensured by other means, where the controller or a processor has not itself suspended or put an end to the transfer.
  4. Examination of Commission Decision 2010/87/EU of 5 February 2010 on standard contractual clauses for the transfer of personal data to processors established in third countries under Directive 95/46/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, as amended by Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/2297 of 16 December 2016 in the light of Articles 7, 8 and 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights has disclosed nothing to affect the validity of that decision.
  5. Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/1250 of 12 July 2016 pursuant to Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-US Privacy Shield is invalid.