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Key facts of the case:

Edward Snowden, who worked for the US National Security Agency (NSA), unlawfully appropriated thousands of highly classified NSA files in 2013. He subsequently disclosed them to various media outlets and revealed the interception and surveillance of internet and telecommunications systems by the NSA on a global scale. The applicant claimed that Snowden’s disclosures demonstrated that there was no effective data protection regime in the US and that the Irish Data Protection Commissioner should have exercised his statutory powers to direct that the transfer of personal data from Facebook Ireland to its parent company in the US should cease. The Commissioner maintained that he was bound by the terms of a Decision of the European Commission issued in 2000 to hold that the data protection regime in the US was adequate and effective where the companies which transfer or process the data to the US self-clarify that they complied with the principles set down in this Decision. This case was a judicial review of the Commissioner’s decision where the Court questioned whether the proper interpretation of pre-Lisbon EU instruments should have been re-evaluated by the Commissioner in light of the subsequent entry into force of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.