The Irish courts have passed a data-sharing case to the European Court of Justice, over the relationship between Facebook and the US National Security Agency (NSA).
Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems' requests will be heard in Strasbourg, and he will finally receive the answers to the question he raised in the fallout of the Edward Snowden revelations of Summer 2013 as part of the Europe-v-Facebook campaign.
The ECJ, which recently ruled on the right to be forgotten, will hear Schrems' arguments and calls for an audit of precisely what information is shared between the parties.
The Irish courts said Facebook users have a right to data protection, but resisted making a final decision until the ECJ can consider the case too.
The ECJ will be asked to consider whether Irish data-protection authorities are bound by safe harbour rules, and whether a wider investigation might be necessary. Schrems welcomed the decision on his Twitter profile.
Judge Desmond Hogan acknowledged that there may be some need for surveillance, but added that it could be perceived as having overreached itself.
"The monitoring of global communications – subject, of course, to key safeguards – is accordingly regarded essential if the US is to discharge the mandate which it has assumed," said Hogan.
"These surveillance programmes have undoubtedly saved many lives and have helped to ensure a high level of security, both throughout the western world and elsewhere.
"But there may also be suspicion in some quarters that this type of surveillance has had collateral objects and effects, including the preservation and reinforcing of American global political and economic power."
V3 contacted Facebook for comment on the referral but had received no reply at the time of publication.
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