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European Court of Justice hands down landmark ruling

With the ruling of the European Court of Justice on July 16, 2020, which declared the Privay Shield Agreement 2016/1250 concluded between the EU and the USA invalid, the situation for European providers of websites has worsened dramatically. The Privacy Shield was supposed to ensure that data of European citizens is as safe in the US as it is in Europe. "That is not the case," the Court said.Here the whole press release. Anyone who relies on companies based in the USA, such as YouTube, Facebook and Youtube, for the operation and, above all, the use of content by embedding videos, for example, and uses these in their websites without indiviudelle Consentabfrage, is liable to prosecution.

The Privacy Shield Agreement Leveraged the European Data Protection Regulation

When the user clicks on embedded content, the usage data is automatically transferred to the USA and processed there. However, the data protection laws there are very lax, and the legislation there allows the authorities to spy on their citizens in advance, so to speak. This means that the European data protection regulations are virtually nullified. They would thus be useless.

Meanwhile, hefty fines are imposed

The frontrunner with the highest fine is META (previously: Facebook). They had been fined 5 billion euros for their offenses. The fines amount to 4% of turnover or 20 million euros, whichever is higher.

Which U.S. providers are affected?

MapBox (provides OpenStreetMap)

The consequences

The Privacy Shield now does not protect data transfers from the EU to other European countries. American companies in particular are thus no longer legitimized by the Privacy Shield. American Internet corporations in particular are affected, and thus also all users of solutions from the following providers (selection):
  • Google
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Facebook (WhatsApp and Instagram)
  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • Zoom
  • Adobe
  • (Fast Fonts)
  • OpenStreetMap (via OpenStreetMap Foundation, based in UK - no longer part of the EU after Brexit )
  • MapBox (provides OpenStreetMap)
As long as these providers process data in America or another insecure third country, a guarantee of the General Data Protection Regulation according to the ECJ ruling in Case C-311/18 is no longer provided by the Privacy Shield.

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