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Ireland: Meta files appeals against DPC in Ireland's High Court

OneTrust DataGuidance confirmed with Ciara Anderson, Associate at Arthur Cox, that Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd filed two appeals, specifically Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd v Data Protection Commission 2023/33 MCA and Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd v Data Protection Commission 2023/34 MCA, in the Irish High Court on January 27, 2023. These appeals were made following the Data Protection Commissioner's (DPC) announcement on January 4, 2023, which concluded two inquiries into Meta's data processing operations related to its Facebook and Instagram services and resulted in fines totaling €390 million.

Ciara explained that "the [DPC] decisions pertained to the reliance on contractual necessity as a legal basis for the processing of personal data for the purposes of personalised behavioural advertising. The DPC held that Meta could not rely on this legal basis as it is contrary to Article 6 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Additionally, the legal basis was not clearly outlined to users, therefore breaching the principles of fairness and transparency under Article 5(1) of the GDPR."

Furthermore, Ciara continued that "on the same day as the announcement of the decision, Meta announced their intention to appeal the rulings and the fines, stating that they strongly believe their approach to behavioural advertising respects the GDPR. In the same statement, Meta criticised the lack of regulatory certainty around appropriate legal bases:

'Debate among regulators and policymakers around which legal bases are most appropriate in a given situation has been ongoing for some time. This issue is also currently being debated by the highest courts in the EU, who may yet reach a different conclusion altogether. That's why we strongly disagree with the DPC's final decision, and believe we fully comply with GDPR by relying on contractual necessity for behavioural ads given the nature of our services.'"

In addition, Ciara highlighted that "as of the time of writing, the appeals have not yet been heard."

You can read Meta's announcement here, and the High Court appeals here and here.