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Data Protection Commission

Commissioner welcomes outcome of High Court Judicial Review

The Commissioner welcomes the judgment of Mr Justice Hogan. The Commissioner notes the Court’s confirmation that, on the law as it presently stands, the Commissioner is obliged to respect a finding made by the European Commission in July, 2000 to the effect that the so-called “safe harbour” regime agreed between the EU and the US for the transfer of personal data from the EU to the US complies with EU law. In that regard, the judgment notes that the Commissioner had ‘demonstrated scrupulous steadfastness to the letter of the 1995 Directive and the 2000 decision'. 
The judgement also upholds the Commissioner’s position that the undoubtedly serious issues raised by Mr Schrem’s complaint turn on wider issues of EU law.  The Court concluded that, on the law as it presently stands, it was not a matter for the Commissioner to look behind the European Commission’s decision, or to commence his own formal investigation into Mr Schrem’s complaint. These findings are welcomed by the Commissioner. 
The Commissioner acknowledges and accepts the Court’s view that, because the data privacy issues raised by the Snowden revelations are so serious, it is appropriate that the European Court of Justice should be asked to consider the critical issue of ' whether the proper interpretation of the 1995 Directive and the 2000 Commission decision should be re-evaluated in light of the subsequent entry into force of Article 8 of the Charter’. 
The Commissioner looks forward to participating in that process in due course. 
The full text of the judgement can be found here