Privacy-Related Class-Action Suit in Austria vs. Facebook Moves Forward

EuropeVersusFacebookApp650The class-action suit filed against Facebook in Vienna, Austria, by Austrian law student Max Schrems and his Europe Versus Facebook group is still alive despite its rejection by the commercial court in the city, as the regional court completed its “a limine” review and ordered Facebook Ireland to respond within four weeks.

The multifaceted suit covers topics including:

  • The social network’s alleged participation in the U.S. National Security Agency’s Prism initiative (http://allfacebook.com/facebook-denies-guardian-nsa_b130277).
  • Its privacy policy.
  • Its tracking of visitors to websites with like buttons.
  • The “absence of effective consent to many types of data use.”
  • Its noncompliance with data-access requests.
  • The “unlawful introduction” of Graph Search.
  • Granting third-party applications access to user information.
  • Monitoring user activity via big data analytics.

Europe Versus Facebook said in a statement:

The Vienna Regional Court has reviewed the class action against Facebook Ireland. After the “a limine” review was passed, the court now ordered Facebook Ireland to respond within four weeks. The order is very likely on the way to Facebook via registered mail. The first step in the legal procedure is hereby taken. Facebook Ireland may be able to get an extension of this time limit of an additional four weeks. If Facebook Ireland would refuse to submit a counterstatement, the court would be able to make a judgment in absence based on the lawsuit.

So far, more than 25.000 Facebook users from outside of the U.S. and Canada have assigned their claims to join the class action, in what has become the largest privacy class action in Europe overnight. An additional 35.000 users have registered on www.fbclaim.com to assign their claims.

Readers: How do you think this lawsuit will play out?

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