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Facebook Privacy The Courts Your Rights Online

Facebook Privacy Suit Seeks $15 Billion 92

Posted by Soulskill
from the timing-entirely-a-coincidence-i'm-sure dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The folks at Facebook may be focusing on their IPO today, but a complaint filed in federal court has given them something else to think about. The filing consolidates 21 separate but similar cases and alleges Facebook invaded users privacy by tracking their browsing behavior even after they had logged out of the site. The claim seeks $15 billion in damages. 'If the claimants are successful in their case against Facebook, they could prevent Menlo Park from collecting the huge amount of data it collects about its users to serve ads back to them. Like the previous lawsuits, Facebook is once again being accused of violating the Federal Wiretap Act, which provides statutory damages per user of $100 per day per violation, up to a maximum per user of $10,000. The complaint also asserts claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Stored Communications Act, various California Statutes and California common law.'"
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Facebook Privacy Suit Seeks $15 Billion

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  • by Dan1701 (1563427) on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:23PM (#40046877)

    This is interesting because it may finally set limits as to how aggressively a company may collect and utilise data on users. Up to now Facebook has been a private company and hasn't needed to exploit the vast treasure trove of user data it has. The IPO changes everything now; I do wonder why on earth they did it, as they surely didn't need the money, but now Facebook will be in thrall to its shareholders.

    From now on, the shareholders will want to maximise profits. The one thing Facebook has that it can exploit is the user data. Up to now, they haven't really maximised the earning potential of this data; when they do they'll be treading a very, very fine line between profit and annoying users and worse still will not easily be able to tell when they've gone too far. I would wager that they're going to overdo it, and force the state to step in and set legal limits on them.

  • The issue isn't that they know your browser loaded that page, it's that since so many websites use that F, and use it even in so-called secure portions of the site, it is trivial for Facebook's automated systems to create a profile for you and figure out what your exact browsing habits are. Since Facebook is already known to have the back end to handle this data and no reason at all not to tabulate it, it stands to reason that they are using it to their advantage.

    Twitter does the exact same thing with the badging, but they don't really have the infrastructure to tie it all together, which is probably why nobody's complaining about them. However, they could easily sell this data to someone else with the resources to leverage it.

    As for two-way computer screens... they actually exist, even though most people prefer the cheaper, more common, monitor-with-a-camera-embedded-in-the-frame version.

    The government stuff... well, you just have to wonder: which government? Or are they ALL doing it? :D

  • Whatever. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xyourfacekillerx (939258) on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:41PM (#40047003)

    If you want privacy, don't sign up to Facebook.

    Funny how when Company XYZ does something that offends the privacy concerns of just about everyone, some slashdot user who likes Company XYZ shrugs and dismisses the ethical, moral, and possibly legal infractions under the non-argument "caveat emptor".

    Hell, more often than not hackers theft of private computer data (err, sorry "duplication") and re-posting of it to public (sorry, "whistleblowing") is celebrated: You can steal from Company XYZ, but you can't steal from User 1990235630 ? Government ABC shouldn't track my data, but User 12363247 and Company XYZ(2) can ?

    Sorry, but "don't use it" just isn't good enough. Anymore than government ABC shouldn't access my data, neither should these companies be doing what I understand them NOT to be allowed to do. The terms of service is two ways, mind you. It's not a contract just for my behavior. It's a contract for theirs. It establishes a mutual understanding of what we can and (most often) cannot do to each other and each other's stuff. These companies don't hold up their end of the bargain as expressed to us during the initial agreement, so "don't use it" doesn't place culpability of my privacy violations squarely on my shoulders.

    I wish the majority ethical consensus on Slashdot would get just a little more consistent across these types of stories.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:43PM (#40047027)

    So, considering Google doesn't even respect user privacy selections made in the browser - the answer is yes, Google would be guilty as well?

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