#2 Are the Schrems cases the end of the internet as we used to know it?

Eve­ry so often, headli­nes appe­ar befo­re our eyes say­ing that the end of the inter­net as we know it is coming. One of the occa­sions when its immi­nent death was fore­told was in the Schrems case when the judg­ment of the Court of Justi­ce of the Euro­pe­an Union was pre­sen­ted as a water­shed that would chan­ge the way digi­tal com­pa­nies ope­ra­te. Some time has pas­sed sin­ce the judg­ment – today we have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to veri­fy that it does not look like the inter­net is going to chan­ge. What is the signi­fi­can­ce of the Schrems cases for the digi­tal sec­tor? What do they actu­al­ly chan­ge and why is the issue of inter­na­tio­nal data trans­fers so important?

Dr. Lau­ra Drech­sler, the rese­ar­cher at KU Leu­ven, who addres­ses the issue of rights in inter­na­tio­nal data trans­fers in her ana­ly­ses, talks abo­ut inter­na­tio­nal data trans­fers, pre­sen­ted as a game chan­ger for big tech com­pa­nies. The epi­so­de is hosted by Dr. Joan­na Mazur, a DELab UW ana­lyst and assi­stant pro­fes­sor at the UW Facul­ty of Mana­ge­ment. Topics of the pod­cast inc­lu­de:
- the defi­ni­tion of inter­na­tio­nal data trans­fers,
- ways of solving the dif­fi­cul­ties of having to distin­gu­ish betwe­en per­so­nal and non-per­so­nal data,
- the eco­no­mic and social impor­tan­ce of solu­tions,
- chal­len­ges faced by servi­ce users,
- the gro­unds for law­ful data trans­fers,
- Schrems I and Schrems II cases,
- eva­lu­ation of cur­rent solutions.


One thing that the Court has been high­li­gh­ting in both Schre­m’s cases is that indi­vi­du­als need to have a legal reme­dy to access rec­ti­fy or raise the per­so­nal data that has been acces­sed in that third coun­try by govern­men­tal autho­ri­ties. So if you take the case of the US here. They refer to data that has been acces­sed by US natio­nal secu­ri­ty agen­cies under the very bro­ad natio­nal secu­ri­ty laws that they have in the US and in such a situ­ation. The court says you need to have as an indi­vi­du­al a legal reme­dy and then you need to be able to access your data so you under­stand what kind of data to have abo­ut you. You know to be able to rec­ti­fy it if it’s wrong and you need to be able to era­se it if they don’t have any reasons to keep the data abo­ut you in the first pla­ce and I think the­se are inde­ed the key rights that indi­vi­du­als sho­uld have in such situ­ations. At least I don’t real­ly see them in a new deci­sion. They men­tio­ned some­thing abo­ut a legal reme­dy but it’s not real­ly a reme­dy to get access cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or wages. It’s a legal reme­dy to some­how check any access to data that has hap­pe­ned. But if you don’t have access to the data in the first pla­ce you will not real­ly know that. 

―Dr. Lau­ra Drech­sler, KU Leuven

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