Facebook Facing Class Action Privacy Lawsuit In Europe
Court hears arguments about whether an Austrian law student has standing to represent 25,000 people in civil suit alleging Facebook violated EU privacy laws.
Another front on Facebook’s battle with privacy watchdogs opened today, as a court in Vienna, Austria, started proceedings on a class action suit accusing the company of violating user privacy.
Austrian law student Max Schrems is pursuing the suit on behalf of 25,000 people, claiming damages of 500 euros ($538) each for a series of alleged violations of European Union laws, including aiding the U.S. National Security Agency’s data mining PRISM program, illegal introduction of Graph Search and illegal data sharing with external apps.
Today’s court session lasted four hours and focused primarily on whether Schrems, 27, has standing to file the suit on behalf of the 25,000 plaintiffs.
“The lawsuit is inadmissible on the procedural level – the court is not responsible,” Facebook’s lawyer Nikolaus Pitkowitz told the judge, according to Reuters. “It is unjustified in terms of content.”
Facebook’s lawyers didn’t address the details of the privacy issues in court and declined to comment to Reuters after the hearing. Schrems said Facebook’s strategy is a delaying tactic. A written decision on whether the court will handle the suit is expected before summer.