Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

As Facebook privacy suit reaches 25,000 participant target, court is still unsure if it will allow it

Loek Essers | Aug. 7, 2014
The commercial court in Vienna will probably know on Friday if it will accept the case.

Most complainants who joined earlier cases came from Austria, the spokesman said. A couple of claims form people outside of the country were also allowed, but those claims were made by people who did business with an Austrian bank, he added.

Moreover, the number of people who joined that case came nowhere close to the 25,000 who are being invited to join the case against Facebook. "There were cases with fifty to sixty complainants and there was a case with circa 300 complainants," he said, adding that 25,000 is a "new dimension" for the court.

Most claims in the Facebook case come from Germany, where over 5,000 people want to join, followed by Austria with about 4,000 people and the Netherlands with about 2,500 participants, according to Europe-v-Facebook. Other countries in the top ten include Finland, Croatia, the U.K., Belgium, France, Serbia and Poland.

The number of people shouldn't be an administrative burden for the court as it is up to Facebook to dispute the evidence, Schrems said. "We probably will not be able to join all 25,000 because there will be a certain amount of people where data is incorrect," he said, adding that most sign-ups looked to be valid so far.

While many people want to join the suit, it has also gathered some criticism. Some people for instance argued that those who don't want Facebook to use their data should just quit the service rather than suing it.

However, Schrems said he sees social networking as the telephone for his generation and added that there is not really a way to get around Facebook. "Facebook has a closed system, it is not like email where you can just choose another provider," Schrems said, adding that other social networks aren't as popular as Facebook.

However, the main problem isn't necessarily Facebook, he said, adding that people who use services from Apple and Google have similar problems.

"If you really are consistently not signing up to a service if you are unhappy with the privacy policies of these companies, you would pretty much have to go back to a landline phone and read the newspaper in the coffee place around the corner. And that really can't be the solution for the modern age," he said.


Previous Page  1  2 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.