EU court boost for activist in Facebook data transfer fight

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EU regulators must block tech companies from transferring data outside the bloc in cases in which privacy rules are broken, an advisor to the European Union’s top court said Thursday, part of a lengthy legal case involving an Austrian privacy campaigner and Facebook.

The European Court of Justice’s advocate general said that so-called “standard contractual clauses” - in which businesses commit to abide by strict EU privacy standards when transferring messages, photos and other information - are adequate. Companies like Facebook routinely move such data among its servers around the world, and the clauses - stock terms and conditions - are used to ensure the EU rules are maintained when data leaves the bloc.

Activist Max Schrems, worried about Europeans facing mass U.S. surveillance, had argued the clauses mean authorities in individual EU countries can, by law, halt data transfers in specific cases if data privacy is violated.

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