Privacy activist Max Schrems’s class action suit filed against Facebook over data usage and privacy, launched earlier this month, has been progressing steadily.
According to the privacy group “Europe versus Facebook”, the case has been reviewed by the Vienna Regional Court and so Facebook Ireland, the company’s international headquarters, has to respond within to claimants’ accusations of breaches of European data protection law in less than four weeks.
The case has been stumbling over the past couple of weeks, considering intended Commercial Court in Vienna has declined the class action suit. “While the commercial court is primarily responsible for disputes against companies arising from contracts, the regional court for civil law matters is usually dealing with general civil law matters like damages”, said Max Schrems, the privacy group founder. Thus, since the Commercial Court found that the case is indeed referring to civil matters, the suit has been referred to the other court, the Regional Court of Vienna.
The class action suit covers a range of allegations regarding Facebook’s approach to user data. The anti-Facebook group is stating several claims of breaching European data protection law, such as validity of data use policy under EU law, aiding the NSA to run the PRISM spy program or illegal big data analytics.
At this moment, more than 25,000 Facebook users outside the U.S. and Canada, for legal reasons suit cannot extend to the U.S. and Canadian users, have assigned their claims to join the class action suit. An additional 35,000 users have registered to assign their claims when the suit widens to cover more users. Germany, Austria and the Netherlands are the countries representing the majority of responses.
Written by Aleksandr Ančiutin