European games trade bodies concerned by EU Facebook data verdict

European games trade bodies concerned by EU Facebook data verdict

European video games trade body ISFE and the European Games Developer Federation (EGDF) have expressed concerns about a verdict reached by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Yesterday (Thursday, July 16th), the EU's supreme court ruled that the EU-US Data Protection Shield – a means of protecting data on both sides of the Atlantic – was invalid in the case of Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland and Maximillian Schrems.

The case saw Austrian resident Schrems saying that while he's an EU citizen, his Facebook data is transferred from the social media giant's European headquarters in Ireland to the United States. He claims that it isn't sufficiently protected from US public authorities in that part of the world.

The ECJ's ruling says that the data of EU citizens must be protected as strongly as it is under the European Union's GDPR regulations when it is moved outside of the region. The court doesn't believe that the US is providing enough protection of this information.

“A solution must be found. The transfer of data between the EU and the US is crucial to the full functioning and continued growth of Europe’s €21bn ($24bn) strong video games industry," ISFE CEO Simon Little (pictured) said.

"Our industry is fully committed to the security of player data and supports the European Commission’s work to modernise European data protection rules and to improve the mechanisms for transferring data to third countries, but today’s decision is a blow to the ability of European games companies to reach a global market.”

The COO of EGDF Jari-Pekka Kaleva added: “The free flow of data between Europe and the US is crucial for game developer studios. This ruling by the CJEU has the potential to create a significant regulatory market access barrier for European SMEs operating in global digital markets and it will adversely impact anyone working in Europe’s digital economy. Government officials and policy makers in Washington and in Brussels need to act quickly to build a new, more reliable framework for data transfers securing high standards on privacy and enabling the much-needed digital growth on both sides of the Atlantic."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.