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The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled on a range of questions raised by the Irish High Court in relation to EU-US data transfers.

The Court has declared that the Privacy Shield Decision is invalid.  In particular, the Court has ruled that the limitations on the protection of personal data from the domestic law of the US on the access and use by US public authorities of data transferred from the EU are not circumscribed in a way that satisfies requirements that are essentially equivalent to those required under EU law.   The Court also found that the ombudsperson mechanism to which the Privacy Shield Decision refers does not provide a cause of action which offers a person whose data is transferred to the US guarantees essentially equivalent to those required by Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. 

However, the Court has upheld the validity of the Standard Contractual Clauses Decision, used by many companies to transfer data to countries outside the EU.  

Catherine Donnelly acted for the Data Protection Commissioner.

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