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Europe’s video games industry is disappointed at today’s important decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the long-running Schrems v. Facebook Ireland case (Case C-311/18) that jeopardises the ability of European companies to continue to transfer data between EU Member States and the US.  The CJEU has ruled that, whilst data transfer agreements used by Facebook and other companies to share European users’ digital data with third countries are valid so long as the country “ensures an adequate level of data protection”, the EU-US Data Protection Shield (otherwise known as the Privacy Shield), that provides companies on both sides of the atlantic with a clear and cost-effective mechanism to comply with data protection requirements, has been ruled invalid.

The Court of Justice ruled that “the limitations on the protection of personal data arising from the domestic law of the United States on the access and use by US public authorities (. . .) are not circumscribed in a way that satisfies requirements that are essentially equivalent to those required under EU law”.

ISFE CEO Simon Little said: “A solution must be found. The transfer of data between the EU and the US is crucial to the full functioning and continued growth of Europe’s €21bn-strong video games industry.  Our industry is fully committed to the security of player data and supports the European Commission’s work to modernise European data protection rules and to improve the mechanisms for transferring data to third countries, but today’s decision is a blow to the ability of European games companies to reach a global market.”

EGDF COO Jari-Pekka Kaleva said: “The free flow of data between Europe and the US is crucial for game developer studios.  This ruling by the CJEU has the potential to create a significant regulatory market access barrier for European SMEs operating in global digital markets and it will adversely impact anyone working in Europe’s digital economy. Government officials and policy makers in Washington and in Brussels need to act quickly to build a new, more reliable framework for data transfers securing high standards on privacy and enabling the much-needed digital growth on both sides of the Atlantic.” 

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