Facebook and other big tech companies have just been dealt a big blow by the European Union’s top court, which ruled on Tuesday that they can’t simply hand user data over to U.S. authorities.
In 2000, a deal was reached that allowed Facebook and other tech firms to transfer users’ data in huge quantities to their servers in the U.S., because it was considered safe.
At this time more than 4,000 companies, including Facebook, Google, and Amazon, are taking part in the safe harbor law.
On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice ruled in favor of Austrian law student Max Schrems. He complained about the way Facebook transfers his personal data to the U.S., where it can be accessed by authorities such as the NSA.
Schrems sued Facebook after Wikileaks whistleblower Edward Snowden, revealed mass spying on the part of U.S. intelligence services.
Following the court’s decision Screms said the decision was “a major blow for U.S. global surveillance that heavily relies on private partners.”
Facebook has not commented on the ruling at this time.