Facebook to be sued by 25,000 members
Campaigner asked Facebook users who wish to take part to sign up via an app
A data privacy campaigner has signed up 25,000 people to a "class action lawsuit" being taken against Facebook, the BBC has reported.
Austrian law student, Max Schrems alleges that the way the social network monitors its members' activity on and off the site puts it in breach of EU laws and asked Facebook users based outside the US and Canada who wished to take part in the case to sign up via an app.
The allegations that Facebook broke EU privacy laws include: introducing graph search, a facility which allows users to find out about other members' activities; external website tracking, which monitors members through the Like buttons; and big data analysis, which gains an insight into Facebook members' by data-crunching the billions of interactions people have with the site every year.
Schrems is demanding $667 in damages for each of the first 25,000 people who have signed up to the case and if he wins he intends to share the money after delivering a 20% cut to a German firm that is funding the case.
According to the BBC, Schrems said that money is not the main reason for the dispute, which he intends to be a "model case" that sets a precedent addressing the wider problem of tech firm developing products that comply with US laws, but are not adapted for other countries' rules.
"It is not an epic fight with Facebook but more of a general question of where we are going and if we respect our fundamental rights in Europe," he said.
"Right now I have the feeling that we love to point the finger at the US in Europe, and say they are not respecting our privacy. But the reality is that we don't really do anything about it."
Schrems has limited the number of people involved in the case to 25,000 because each participant's submissions must be vetted. However, he says other Facebook users wishing to take part can still register their interest in case he later decides to expand the legal action.