Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is facing a class-action lawsuit in Europe that could bring Facebook’s lack of privacy protection into focus.


Facebook violated Europe privacy laws by participating in NSA’s spying program

Austrian law student and privacy activist Max Schrems said Friday he will challenge the social network in court.  Schrems says Facebook violated Europe’s generally clear privacy laws and disregarded its own terms of agreement when it participated in a general spying program operated by the NSA.

“We see that Facebook is violating EU privacy laws for a very long time and wanted to take action,” said Schrems in a statement to The Christian Science Monitor. “The problems start with a privacy policy that no one understands, [which is] invalid under EU law, up to the NSA spying scandal.”

It is Facebook’s Ireland division, headquartered in Dublin, that is the focus of the suit since their domain falls under the European Union’s legal jurisdiction.

Like a good activist, Schrems has a web site that allows fans to track his progress.  The site, www.fbclaim.com, encourages users to join the Facebook class action suit. The site hilariously has a “Login With Facebook.”  Once users are logged in they go through a serious of privacy intrusions, including asking for a scan of the web site visitor’s ID, presumably to confirm residency. (The class action suit is not available to US or Canadian residents.

Those who join the lawsuit could receive as much as 500 euros or near $670.

Schrems suing Facebook for more than just privacy policy issues

Schrems is bringing the lawsuit against Facebook for violations regarding “the privacy policy, participation in the PRISM program, Facebook’s graph search, apps on Facebook, tracking on other web pages (e.g. via the “like buttons”), ‘big data’ systems that spy on users or the non-compliance with access requests,” the web site says.

Schrems notes the Facebook privacy policy has become intentionally confusing and that even with the obfuscating language, the company is violating its own policies.

“We love to complain constantly about data protection problems in Europe, now its also time for us to enforce our fundamental rights,” Schrems was quoted saying in a press release. “Within the framework of this class action individuals can also make a contribution to this effort.”