Facebook Faces European Class Action Lawsuit Over Privacy

Facebook is being sued by a Viennese law student promising $671 for every user who joins him.

Among other charges,  Max Schrems accuses Facebook of “aiding the NSA to run the ‘PRISM’ spy program, tracking of users on external pages through ‘social plug-ins,’ illegal ‘big data’ analytics, illegal introduction of graph search, illegal data sharing with ‘external apps,’ non-compliance with the Right to Access, and tort and unjust enrichment claims.”

(RELATED: Privacy Groups Send Letter To FTC, Demand Facebook Investigation)

“We love to complain constantly about data protection problems in Europe, now it’s also time for us to enforce our fundamental rights,” Schrems said in an email statement to The Daily Caller. “Within the framework of this class action individuals can also make a contribution to this effort.”

So what’s going on here, exactly? European Facebook users are upset with the U.S. company for conspiring with a U.S. intelligence agency and for failing to comply with a bunch of European privacy laws. Schrems is also suing the Irish subsidiary of the U.S. company.


The student is calling on U.S. and Canadian users to join his lawsuit, which he described as an international battle for privacy, and is financed by ROLAND ProzessFinanz AG.

“Our aim is to make Facebook finally operate lawfully in the area of data protection,” Schrems said. “Each additional participant also increases the pressure on Facebook.”

According to the press release, Schrems is the only claimant, so participants in the class suit will not suffer “risk of costs.” Schrems’ attorney, Wolfram Proksch, explained that every Facebook user outside the U.S. and Canada has a contract with Facebook Ireland, which is why the suit is so important for European users.

“For the time being the action is only directed against Facebook’s obvious violations of the law, which affect virtually all users,” Proksch said in the press release. “Every Facebook user outside the U.S.A. and Canada has a contract with Facebook Ireland.”

For now, Schrems said they are still trying to focus the suit so more progress can be made.

“As a result of our complaints, Facebook had to delete data and deactivate its facial recognition all over the world,” Schrems said. “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.”

This morning, Facebook’s stock dropped and the website went down.

Any interested U.S. or Canadian Facebook users can join the class action suit here.

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