The EU Moves Closer to Blocking Facebook and Instagram Data Flow to the US

On July 7th, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission issued a draft decision that could block Meta from transferring data between the EU and the US. Other EU data protection agencies are reviewing the decision. If the ruling passes, Facebook and Instagram might stop working in the EU due to how their platforms are designed.

After years of conflict between stern European privacy laws and the social media giant, EU citizens might experience a Facebook blackout by the end of the year. If the decision passes, it will have a significant impact on the data flow between the US and the EU.  

US Surveillance Practices Cited as a Major Concern

This is not the first time Europe comes close to blocking Meta. In 2020, a landmark ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union annulled the data transfer deal between the EU and the US. The data flow mechanism known as Privacy Shield was deemed inadequate for not protecting EU citizens from US surveillance.

Nonetheless, 2020 was not the end of Facebook in Europe. The data flow was allowed to continue back then due to a legal transfer tool called the Standard Contractual Clauses, which fell under the GDPR umbrella. The problem now is that the decision from the Data Protection Commission would force Meta to stop relying on the SCCs as well.

If European regulators act fast on Ireland’s decision, EU citizens might lose access to Facebook and Instagram services. The US and the EU need to reach a new agreement and create a new data privacy pact that would replace the stricken Privacy Shield.

A New US-EU Data Transfer Agreement in the Works

A new transatlantic data flow deal has been in the works since March 2022. US president Biden and the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reached a political agreement, paving the way to a replacement for Privacy Shield. Von der Leyen said:

“I am pleased that we found an agreement in principle on a new framework for transatlantic data flows. This will enable predictable and trustworthy data flows between the EU and U.S., safeguarding privacy and civil liberties.” 

Facebook is banking on this new deal to solve its legal problems in the EU. A spokesperson from Meta had this to say:

“This draft decision, which is subject to review by European Data Protection Authorities, relates to a conflict of EU and US law which is in the process of being resolved. We welcome the EU-US agreement for a new legal framework that will allow the continued transfer of data across borders, and we expect this framework will allow us to keep families, communities and economies connected.”

Despite the optimism of these declarations, Meta doesn’t say that the new deal can go through the top EU courts like the previous one. Europe has already shown to be tough on data privacy and protecting its citizens’ privacy rights.      

Data Privacy and Freedom

Some might dream about Facebook and Instagram being blocked in Europe, but it’s unlikely to happen. Lawmakers would probably not be very happy to hear millions of complaints about a social media blackout and the cries of concerned tech companies. Either way, you should be able to access any content you want while protecting your online privacy.

Don’t let politicians determine what you can access and don’t let tech giants abuse your data. You can have both online freedom and full data protection at once. All you need is a good VPN.

Get CyberGhost VPN and connect to one of our servers in the US to access any content that’s blocked outside of it. Geographical restrictions are common around the world, but our VPN removes them. Even if the EU ends up banning Facebook, you should still be able to access it by connecting to one of our US servers.

Facebook is notorious for logging an enormous amount of user data. It tracks everything about you and it’s susceptible to data breaches, so your privacy is at stake. Don’t let that stop you from using social media. Route your traffic through CyberGhost VPN and enjoy full data encryption on up to 7 devices simultaneously.

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