On September 14, 2018, preeminent European privacy advocate Max Schrems visited EPIC and spoke to the Privacy Coalition. Schrems is best known for taking legal action against Facebook after discovering the company amassed large amounts of his personal information in violation of European data law. His long fought personal battle with Facebook eventually led to the collapse of Safe Harbour, an agreement between the US and EU that allowed businesses to transfer data across borders.
Recently, with the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU, Schrems launched None of Your Business (NYOB), a non-profit organization focused on helping others pursue legal action against companies who violate data privacy protections.
As a member of the EPIC Advisory Board, Schrems was a welcomed guest. He happily shared a few photos of his new work space and his growing team of attorneys during a casual lunch with EPIC staff. After brief opening remarks, Schrems delved right into a lengthy discussion about his daily work finding plaintiffs with actionable cases and educating them about legal options under the GDPR.
The GDPR became effective May 2018 and presented new opportunities for individuals seeking remedies for consumer data protection violations. Since Schrems was one of first to begin filing complaints under the GDPR, he offered a unique perspective on what works and what doesn’t. Schrems anticipates the GDPR’s meaning is likely to reach review by the highest European court, and significant enforcement actions from European authorities will be critical to the law’s effectiveness.
In the meantime, Schrems will continue his advocacy work by raising legal challenges with the GDPR and by encouraging consumers to enforce their privacy rights.
EPIC’s President and CEO, Marc Rotenberg, proposed starting a visiting fellowship program between EPIC and NYOB – as a way of sharing ideas and expertise. Schrems was very receptive of the idea and will continue to work with EPIC on many emerging privacy issues moving forward.
For more information on Max Schrems, visit https://noyb.eu.
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