Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Facebook is subject to EU privacy challenges from watchdogs in any of the bloc’s member states, not just its lead regulator in Ireland, the bloc’s top court ruled Tuesday, in a ruling that has implications for other big tech companies.

Under the EU’s stringent privacy rules, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, only one country’s national data protection authority has the power to handle legal cases involving cross-border data complaints in a system known as “one-stop shop.” For Facebook, which has its European headquarters in Dublin, it is Ireland’s Data Protection Commission.

However, the European Union’s Court of Justice ruled that “under certain conditions,” a national watchdog has the power to take a company to court over a GDPR violation even if it’s not the lead regulator.

Story continues below advertisement

The ruling is in line with a preliminary opinion from a court adviser and, according to experts, potentially paves the way for a fresh onslaught of privacy cases across the EU’s 27 member nations.

The court’s decision brings to an end a lengthy legal battle between Facebook and Belgium’s data protection authority over jurisdiction for the case, which centred on the social network’s use of cookies to track behaviour of internet users, even those who weren’t account holders. The company had argued that the Belgian watchdog no longer had jurisdiction after GDPR took effect in 2018.

Facebook painted it as a victory, noting that under the ruling the Irish regulator would remain in the lead except in limited circumstances.

“We are pleased that the CJEU has upheld the value and principles of the one-stop-shop mechanism, and highlighted its importance in ensuring the efficient and consistent application of GDPR across the EU,” Jack Gilbert, the company’s associate general counsel, said.

Ireland’s privacy watchdog has been criticized for taking too long resolve a growing number of GDPR cases involving tech giants including Apple , Twitter , Google and Instagram but it argues that the cases are complicated.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies