Facebook users sue site over data collection, demand compensation for privacy breaches

Users could be owed about £362 for their data, case says

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 09 April 2015 18:51 BST

Facebook is being sued by about 25,000 of its users, as part of a case that says the site is conducting mass surveillance.

The claim is part of a class action lawsuit being brought by European data protection campaigner Max Schrems, which says that Facebook’s data collection and like buttons breach privacy laws.

More than 900 of the people bringing the case are in the UK. It will be heard in a court in Vienna and is being brought against Facebook’s headquarters in Dublin, where all of its accounts outside of the US and Canada are registered.

Facebook has not yet commented on the case, but disputes the involvement of Austrian courts since it is registered in Ireland, according to reports. But Schrems and his legal team argue that the dispute is a consumer case and should be heard in his home country.

Schrems has already fought cases with Facebook in Ireland and in the European Court of Justice, according to the Irish Times.

Schrems says that Facebook’s collection and use of data breaks the law and that he wants to stop such mass surveillance.

He asks for €500, or about £360, in damages for each of the people part of the case, as compensation. That amounts to €10 million for each user, which Schrems says is a symbolic sum.

More than 50,000 people have expressed an interest in being part of the case, but it was limited to 25,000 people.

The case also references Prism, the NSA’s surveillance programme that was revealed as part of the Edward Snowden leaks. A number of social networks were said to have co-operated with the plan, though most of them have denied it and called for companies to resist the requests.

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