Facebook warns privacy rules could force it to exit European market

Facebook's European headquarters in Dublin.

Enlarge / Facebook’s European headquarters in Dublin. (credit: Brian Lawless – PA Images / Getty)

Facebook has warned that it could be forced to pull out of the European market if European regulators push forward with limits on data sharing between the European Union and the United States.

Until this year, an arrangement called Privacy Shield allowed US technology companies to move data easily between the two jurisdictions. But Europe’s highest court nixed that arrangement in July, arguing that US law lacks robust protections against surveillance by the US government.

In the wake of that ruling, Ireland’s privacy regulator ordered Facebook to stop sending data on European users to its US data centers. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) leads enforcement of European privacy regulations with respect to Facebook because Facebook’s official European headquarters is in Dublin.

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