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Europe v Facebook

Written by Sophie Amos, a Work Experience student at Lawdit Solicitors on 04 September 2014

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Facebook (a well known social networking site) is being sued by over 20,000 Europeans for alleged violations of European data protection law.

Max Schrems (an anti-facebooker and law student from Austria), announced on the 1 August 2014 that a law suit will be filed dubbed ‘Europe v Facebook’ which apparently can be joined by anyone outside of the US and Canada.

Facebook has participated in the following; NSA and GCHQ surveillance program PRISM, which is tracking users who visit sites where embedded ‘like’ buttons are found and an alleged non-compliance with data access requests.

In an open statement Schrems said:

"We have hoped for large support, but the number of participants in such a short time exceeded my most optimistic expectations,"

"Nevertheless we have to limit the claims after this short time, because we will have to verify and administer every individual claim."

With 5,287 angry facebookers, Germany is the top country for claimants joining the litigation process. The United Kingdom as it stands comes in at number six with 913 individual claims so far.

Schrem continues…

"With this number of participants we have a great basis, so stop complaining about privacy violations and actually do something about it. If we are successful, the outcome will of course have a positive impact on all users,"

"The great support shows that this class action is at the heart of a very urgent matter."

If the suit is successful, participants are obliged to win 500 Euros (about £397), however this sum will be cut short by lawyers’ cuts and legal costs.

Considering the small amount of money to be benefited it seems that Schrem is not interested in the money but to set a precedent for data usage.

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