Some new updates have surfaced from the lawsuit Facebook is facing in Europe over alleged privacy violation. The Facebook group based in Austria called Europe v Facebook is the mastermind behind the suit. The case was filed in Vienna Regional Court who has reviewed the case and has given Facebook Ireland a month to respond.
60,000 over individuals have joined the law suit with 25,000 assigning claims to join the class action and the rest registering to assign claim if the suits widens to allow more users to join.
The suit has a 25,000 limit and is set to give €500 per user. That makes out to be $16,577,438 that Facebook may need to pay out at least! If the suit wides, we could see this figure multiply at least thrice. The worst part of the lawsuit is how damaging it will be to the social network’s public image.
The 25,000 are mostly in Europe with German speaking countries being the majority. This is no surprise as the leader of the group, Max Schrems originally comes from this region and has been going after Facebook and its data policies for quite a number of years. Other countries represented are Finland, United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Thankfully, citizens in America and Canada are disallowed to register. Schrems explained that “The class action was filed against Facebook Ireland, the international branch with about 82% of Facebook’s worldwide customers. Users in the U.S. and Canada have a contract with Facebook U.S., another legal entity. They cannot join a class action against an entity that they don’t have any contract with.”
We don’t expect to see a response from Facebook any time soon. The tech entity needs to respond within four weeks but this may be extended to eight by the court. It may even decide not to respond entirely. “If Facebook Ireland would refuse to submit a counterstatement the court would be able to make a judgment in absence based on the lawsuit,” Shcrems explained.
The current suit covers various claims over data usage and privacy including data use policy which is invalid under European Union law, the absence of effective consent to many types of data use, support of the NSA’s ‘PRISM’ surveillance programme, tracking of Internet users on external websites (e.g. through ‘Like buttons’) as well as monitoring and analysis of users through ‘big data’ systems, unlawful introduction of ‘Graph Search’ and unauthorised passing on of user data to external applications.