Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems has been confirmed as a keynote speaker at the next Last Thursday in Privacy virtual event on 30 July, only two weeks after a verdict is expected in his case against Facebook.
Schrems, founder of privacy enforcement platform None of Your Business, has been one of the world’s leading opponents to Big Tech for its collection of use of personal data. In 2015, Schrems stood before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to challenge the validity of the US Safe Habor Agreement which allowed for trans-Atlantic data flows from the EU to the US. The lawyer won the case and as a result, the Court nullified the agreement on the basis that Facebook’s participation in surveillance activities in the United States was incompatible with the EU’s Charter on Fundamental Rights.
Schrems joins Last Thursday in Privacy, organised by the Data Protection World Forum, after the EU’s court in Luxembourg is due to deliver its new verdict on the Facebook Ireland vs Schrems case (otherwise known as Schrems 2.0) on 16 July.
It is one of the most anticipated cases on data privacy as it could potentially provide a new landmark in international data transfers. Schrems 2.0 argues that Standard Contractual Clauses are not a sufficient replacement for export of personal data outside of the EU as it would not provide adequate protection of data privacy. The Irish Data Protection Commissioner responded by referring the case to the Irish High Court, which was then referred to the CJEU.
The upcoming verdict may also have a knock-on effect on the EU-US Privacy Shield as it also relies on Standard Contractual Clauses for the transfer of personal data. However, critics have argued that the Privacy Shield is more robust than its predecessor, Safe Harbor.
Schrems pioneering work in this area began when he was 23. As a law student, Schrems made a personal information request to Facebook for a college assignment. The results showed that the company had collected far more data on him than he expected. In 2011, he was pointing out the flaws in Cambridge Analytica’s systems before the extent of their misuse of data was revealed.
To register for Max Schrems’ session at our next Last Thursday in Privacy event on 30 July, click here.
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