Meta may have to withdraw platforms in the EU

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Meta Platforms has reiterated its warning that it may have to withdraw its popular services Facebook and Instagram from the European Union if a new transatlantic data transfer pact does not materialize.

Meta could face a ban on its practice of exporting user data to the US for which it is currently being scrutinized by Ireland’s data protection watchdog. The issue concerns data transfers between the EU and the US that take place under Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs).

More on this: Irish privacy regulator moves closer to blocking metadata transfers

In March, the EU and US broke an impasse to reach an agreement in principle on a new data transfer pact after a previous agreement was overturned by the bloc’s top court, over fears that US agencies cannot spy on the information without adequate confidentiality safeguards.

Negotiations over a new pact are unlikely to conclude until next year, by which time the Irish watchdog may have already issued its ban.

“If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs or other alternative means of transferring data from the EU to the US , we likely won’t be able to offer a number of our most important products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe,” Meta said in a U.S. regulatory filing.

This “would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations,” he added.

Unanswered questions about data transfers stem from a 2020 ruling by the EU’s highest court that terminated the EU-US privacy shield agreement, over long-running fears that it exposes EU citizens to unlawful surveillance by US intelligence agencies.

Until now, SCCs have acted as a workaround to the EU’s Privacy Shield rollover, but it looks like that era is coming to an end.

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