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Facebook might pay 500 euros per user if this privacy lawsuit succeeds

By Lionell Go Macahilig & James Lu - on 6 Aug 2014, 11:47am

Facebook might pay 500 euros per user if this privacy lawsuit succeeds

Image Source: Ars Technica

An Austrian privacy activist has launched an international class action suit against Facebook for breaching European data protection law.

Anyone outside of the US and Canada with a Facebook account can join activist and law student Max Schrems' suit via the website

The suit is seeking damages of €500 per user, and injunctions to be levied on the company for the following breaches:

  • Failing to get "effective consent" for using data
  • Implementing a legally invalid data use policy
  • Tracking users online outside of Facebook via "Like" buttons
  • Using big data to monitor users
  • Failing to make Graph Search opt-in
  • The unauthorized passing of user data to external apps
  • Its involvement in NSA's Prism program, designed to extract personal data from the public's internet use.

Schrems' battle against the social network has been ongoing since 2010, when he requested Facebook send him all the user data it had on him. He received 1,200 pages. He went on to front the aptly named Europe versus Facebook group, which has pushed for changes to Facebook's policies and practices that will bring them in line with EU Data Protection law. So far this has led to Facebook abolishing facial recognition and deleting excess data it has on users.

According to Schrems, his goal in targeting Facebook isn't the money. Schrems told "We are only claiming a small amount, as our primary objective is to ensure correct data protection, however, if many thousands of people participate we would reach an amount that will have a serious impact on Facebook."

What Schrems really hopes to gain from the suit is for Facebook to provide "clear, straight-forward information and active, opt-in consent by users."

Since many companies, big and small, also implement the same kind of behavior-tracking, big data approach as Facebook, Schrems also hopes that the class action will be seen as a warning sign for the whole industry, saying "you can't just break the fundamental rights of others."

Source: Wired UK