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Austrian student files class action suit against Facebook

Privacy advocate Max Schrems is calling other Facebook users to join the suit, which alleges the social media giant's data collection policy violates European law.
By Ananth Baliga   |   Aug. 1, 2014 at 1:37 PM   |   Comments

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VIENNA, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Austrian law student and privacy advocate Max Schrems filed a class action suit against Facebook for violating European privacy laws by sharing private user data.

Schrems alleges that Facebook's data policy violates European laws because they share private user data with the U.S. government. He is asking other users outside the U.S. and Canada to join the lawsuit, which is claiming 500 euros, or around $670, in damages per user. Facebook last reported it has 1.32 billion users.

"We want to show to the U.S. industry that they have to respect [European] fundamental rights if they want to do business in Europe," Schrems told Mashable.

"We love the technology, but we want to be able to use things without permanent worry for our privacy. Right now you have two options: live like in the stone age, or take action. We decided for the second," he added.

Schrems had filed a similar suit last year with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner against Facebook's participation in the U.S. National Security Agency's PRISM snooping program.

Schrems' class action suit is being supported by a financier, who will claim 20 percent of the damages if they win the case. The suit is being filed in Vienna against Facebook's European operations in Ireland. If he were to win the case in Austria, the ruling would be applicable in Ireland as well.

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