Europe Versus Facebook Group Files Class-Action Suit vs. Facebook in Austria

EuropeVersusFacebookApp650Facebook is facing another privacy-related lawsuit from Austrian law student Max Schrems and his Europe Versus Facebook group, but this time, the class-action suit will be heard on the group’s home turf in Austria, rather than in Ireland, where Facebook’s European operations are based.

GigaOM reported that Schrems and Europe Versus Facebook filed a class-action suit in Vienna Friday, which Facebook users outside of the U.S. and Canada can join, and the multifaceted suit covers topics including:

  • The social network’s alleged participation in the U.S. National Security Agency’s Prism initiative.
  • 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.

According to GigaOM, Facebook users outside of the U.S. and Canada can join the suit free-of-charge, and German litigation funder Roland ProzessFinanz is backing the class-action in exchange for one-fifth of the payout in the event of victory. The frequently-asked-questions page of the lawsuit reads:

We are suing Facebook for €500 ($671.48) in damages and unjust enrichment (per user). This is intentionally low because our main aim is to enforce our fundamental rights. In similar cases, courts have always awarded higher amounts (at least €750 [$1,007.20] for minor violations, up to €2,000 [$2,685.88] in other cases).

GigaOM pointed out that Facebook users seeking to join the class-action suit must use Facebook Login in order to do so.

Schrems said in a statement, as reported by GigaOM:

In the beginning, we made great progress in Ireland. As a result of our complaints, Facebook had to delete data and deactivate its facial recognition all over the world. However, over time, it became clear that the Irish authorities had no interest in enforcing substantial changes. The proceedings will soon reach the end of their third year, and we are still being promised a decision “in the near future.” Many voices in Ireland are saying that this is due to political pressure not to drive away the IT industry, which is very important in Ireland. We shouldn’t have that problem in Austria. We are therefore transferring the focus of our activities here.

Readers: Do you think the class-action suit by Europe Versus Facebook will be successful?

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