Facebook's April 30 request to delay the referral of a recently reported privacy case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has officially been denied, according to the latest reports. Irish High Court Judge Caroline Costello is said to have refused the request for a stay because the judge felt any delay could cause further injustice. The ruling probably shouldn't come as too much of a shock with consideration for the weight of this particular case. Specifically, this case is part of an ongoing effort to halt U.S. tech companies from transferring E.U. user data to the U.S. The concern is that the country's surveillance agencies take advantage of the practice to encroach on the privacy of those users. The case against Facebook more directly alleges that Facebook should be held accountable for its part in that.
Meanwhile, Google and Apple – among several other U.S. tech companies – have also been included in the wave of privacy-based cases. It has been put forward in each case that, absent any enforceable U.S. laws that protect the privacy of data brought in from other countries, the tech giant's aren't doing enough to protect the data of E.U. citizens. Although there are other companies who have been called out for possible violations of the E.U.'s privacy rules, this case could have a more profound negative impact on Facebook. That's because the company is already embroiled in several other cases pertaining to user privacy. Moreover, the social networking giant has been struggling to regain user trust due to a drawn-out search for solutions to privacy concerns and other problems over the past year.
This particular case has stemmed from Irish courts because that is where the company is headquartered for most of its international business. However, the company is also facing similarly privacy-based inquiries in other courts in the region. Most recently, the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been warned that he may receive an official summons from U.K. lawmakers if he fails to comply with requests that he respond to questioning, so this dismissal of Facebook's request is just the latest in a long string of legal problems. In the meantime, Facebook plans to contest the referral but isn't likely in a position to stop this case moving forward.