The Supreme Court will hear an appeal from Facebook regarding a decision over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The appeal was brought after the Federal Court rejected the social media giant’s claim that it does not conduct business in Australia and does not store Australian information.
The Australian Information Commissioner is suing US-based Facebook Inc, now known as Meta, and Facebook Ireland for allegedly violating the privacy of 311,000 Australian users.
The Australian regulator alleges that Facebook Inc has “committed serious and/or repeated privacy breaches in violation of Australian privacy law”.
But the Mark Zuckerberg-led social media giant argued that these laws don’t apply to Facebook Inc, as Facebook’s Ireland subsidiary conducted the Australian business.
Furthermore, Facebook Inc claimed that it did not collect or store people’s personal information in Australia.
Noel Hutley SC, acting for Facebook, argued that the federal court was incorrect in its definition of “doing business” in Australia.
He told the High Court that Facebook Inc did not have a commercial presence in Australia or contract with Australian users.
Instead, he said, Australians had a commercial relationship with Facebook Ireland, which runs all operations outside the United States.
Ruth Higgins SC, acting for the regulator, argued that Facebook Inc receives revenue from Facebook Ireland for the data processes it provides, creating a commercial relationship.
“These activities were an integral part of Facebook Inc’s commercial activities,” she said.