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25,000 people join privacy lawsuit against Facebook

The class action suit, filed by lawyer Max Schrems, is limiting the number of participants to 25,000 until all requests are verified.

Image: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

MORE THAN 25,000 people have signed up to support a class action suit against Facebook over the company’s alleged violations of its users’ privacy.

The suit, filed by lawyer Max Schrems who started the group Europe Vs Facebook, claims a symbolic €500 per plaintiff from Facebook for a number of alleged violations of the law. Since it was filed last Thursday

The number of participants has been limited to 25,000 Facebook users for now as the group will have to “verify and administer every individual claim.”

The alleged violations include its involvement with the US National Security Agency (NSA) in running PRISM, which took the personal data of users from numerous web services, and tracking users’ visits to other websites via the ‘Like’ button.

In a statement, Schrems said “With this number of participants we have a great basis to 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.”

Users from more than 100 countries had signed up to the class action, the majority coming from Europe. Germany, Austria and Netherlands have the most users taking part while Ireland had 174 users participating since early yesterday.

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Schrems already has a case involving Facebook pending at the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Back in June, the High Court referred the case, which involved the Irish Data Commissioner’s decision not to investigate Facebook over its involvement with PRISM, to the ECJ to clarify a number of issues.

The class action was submitted at the Commercial Court for Vienna last Thursday against Facebook’s Irish headquarters.

(Additional reporting from AFP)

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Quinton O'Reilly

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