Schrems v. Commissioner: A Biblical Parable of Judicial Power

David v. Goliath

Even before his big win at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on Tuesday, Maximillian Schrems’ seemingly quixotic campaign against the giants of America’s shadowy security-complex and Internet service sector had attracted colorful allusions to the biblical tale of David and Goliath. It’s a good story, except that it is too often misconstrued. The lesson is not that the plucky young Israeli shepherd slew the Philistine giant on his own. The story means to teach us that, even for the unassuming little guy, anything is possible with God’s help. King Saul expressed his doubts about David’s heroic battlefield delusions. “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him,” Saul insisted, “you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David reassured the King that he wouldn’t face Goliath alone: “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” What is a King to say to such a thing, except “Go, and the Lord be with you.” As we all know, David went and God was with him. The boy’s simple sling and stone brought down the warrior giant.

And so it is that—at least with respect to data privacy—all things are possible if the Luxembourg Court is at your side. We might celebrate the Court’s decision in Case C-362/14 as an improbable victory of good (data-privacy) over evil (consumer and intelligence data abuses). But I want to offer some words of caution about god-like judicial power.

A Narrow Reading

The first point of caution is that the CJEU’s judgment might be read more narrowly than the biblical metaphor suggests. The next step need not be as exciting as the destruction of the Philistine army ...

Zum vollständigen Artikel

Cookies helfen bei der Bereitstellung unserer Dienste. Durch die Nutzung erklären Sie sich mit der Cookie-Setzung einverstanden. Mehr OK