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Facebook Privacy Class Action Green-Lighted

Facebook Privacy Class Action Green-Lighted

Although Americans, by and large, may seem unconcerned about their eroding civil right to privacy and freedom from warrantless searches, a growing number of people are striking back through legal channels.

Every day, without our knowledge or consent, data uploaded by willing consumers to hosting websites are being sold down the river – or stolen – by third-party interests. Consumer data harvested this way is used to target the person who provided the information inventory in the first place with directed marketing advertising.

Not only is this practice offensive to many people, it is a clear violation of privacy laws. The  Federal Trade Commission  (FTC) agreed and, on July 2019, fined Facebook an unprecedented $5 billion fine for privacy violations related to Cambridge Analytica’s allegedly covert data theft:

“Facebook, Inc. will pay a record-breaking $5 billion penalty, and submit to new restrictions and a modified corporate structure that will hold the company accountable for the decisions it makes about its users’ privacy, to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the company violated a 2012 FTC order by deceiving users about their ability to control the privacy of their personal information.” [emphasis added]

Joe Simons, FTC Chairman, commented on how voluntary compliance is not working at Facebook:

“Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers’ choices. The magnitude of the $5 billion penalty and sweeping conduct relief are unprecedented in the history of the FTC.”

The goal of the FTC fine is to hurt Facebook in the wallet enough to persuade the global online dominator to change its evil ways:

“The relief is designed not only to punish future violations but, more importantly, to change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations. The Commission takes consumer privacy seriously, and will enforce FTC orders to the fullest extent of the law.”

Facebook just keeps rolling along, though, despite many legal losses.

Last week, on August 8, 2019, a  federal appeals court denied Facebook corporate’s attempt to shelve a facial recognition class action lawsuit that claims the social media giant “illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of users without their consent.”

The suit was brought by Illinois users who now have the green light to pursue privacy justice, to the tune of billions of dollars in damages, potentially. Attorney Shawn Williams, representing the plaintiffs, said:

“This biometric data is so sensitive that if it is compromised, there is simply no recourse. It’s not like a Social Security card or credit card number where you can change the number. You can’t change your face.”

Facebook will continue to appeal, stating:

“We have always disclosed our use of face recognition technology and that people can turn it on or off at any time.”

[For the record, this writer has had a Facebook account for years and was not aware until researching this article that the company was exploiting biometric data as well as text and images.]

In 2015, the group of Illinois Facebook users claimed that the company’s action of gathering their personal biometric information and storing it violates a state law passed in 2008 called the Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Circuit Judge Sandra Ikuta noted in her written decision that the Illinois law was passed to safeguard the “concrete interests in privacy” for all residents and shot down Facebook’s legal argument that each user’s claims were unique and therefore necessitated individual lawsuits rather than a class action.

The case now returns to its roots in San Francisco, California, where U.S. District Judge James Donato certified a class action in April 2018. A trial date has not yet been set.

The cash penalties mandated by the Illinois biometric privacy law are $1,000 for each negligent violation and $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation. The class in this action could add up to 7 million Facebook users. That amounts to $7-35 billion.

The FTC says that Facebook daily users number more than 185 million in the U.S. and Canada. The company monetizes user information through targeted advertising which accounted for most of the $55.8 billion in corporate 2018 revenues. Facebook lures users into sharing their private information by misstating that users can control the privacy of their own information through account privacy settings.

The FTC imposed a 20-year settlement order on Facebook which changes the way the company makes privacy decisions through more transparent decision-making. The company will be held accountable by means of overlapping channels of compliance.

This is a good start and shows that not every American is asleep with their eyes wide open. Hats off to the Illinois Facebook users who are crying Shenanigans on data theft and slack privacy online.

Will the pending class action lawsuit will be the small pebble that creates a huge avalanche of public outcry against callous, unkind, and uncaring corporate megalomaniacs who view their customers as prey?

Privacy advocates have their fingers crossed that the tide of public apathy over individual privacy is turning.

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20 Comments

  1. Pj

    Where can I sign to put my name on lawsuit?

    Reply
  2. Veteran

    Time to close the book on facebook and throw it at them. Time for a myriad of unrelated little tiny facebooklets, all competing with each other while none dominates the market; and if one ever attempts to collude with the others, or censor by political, or religious preference again take the book and squash it like a bug.

    Reply
  3. Robert

    Anybody remember when facebook handed all its user information to the NSA. This was done without a warrant.
    This was done during the obama dictatorship.

    Reply
    • sispauls

      You seem to have mixed-up Obama–being for the people & DICTATOR WANNABE DOGALD TRAMP

      Reply
      • Patricia Wayman

        Wow talk about you can’t fix stupid, you sure fit right in.

        Reply
  4. Joseph

    I was put in Facebook jail for passing news on!

    Reply
    • Jo Mauro

      Along with thousands of others!

      Reply
  5. Elizabeth Santilli

    I was banned twice for 3 days for what reasons? I have not threatened anybody life and I haven’t used vulgar world.

    Reply
  6. EVA SAXON

    any time you make a comment about the democrats, illegals or anything that is of news every day you go to facebook jail. I have been there so many times it doesn’t bother me. Facebook is really protective of Omar and AOC. I found a different place, its called the hangout. Facebook has put some of my stuff on there without my permission and I said nothing but when the censur everything I post and then jail me daily for 3 day to 30 days, I’m done. I thought facebook was about everyones openion, not just theirs.

    Reply
    • FEDUP365

      Me too, I’m suspended for 30 right now for commenting on muslims

      Reply
      • julkun

        speaking the truth should never get you suspended and neither should your opinion and even worse, they are selective.

        Reply
      • Jo Mauro

        You are not alone.

        Reply
  7. julkun

    Class action suits are what makes lawyers rich. It’s just another legal scam where victims get nothing.

    Reply
    • Ally

      If it takes a class action suit to bring down that big kid and lawyers get richer for the work they did, it’s better than Mark getting richer on us while helping himself to our lives.

      Reply
  8. jack Benedict

    Break them up like AT&T was broken up regionally years ago. Make the parts compete.

    Reply
  9. Radical Rick VNV/LV/MC

    I’m elated someone has stepped up to the plate to help the American people as well as others around the world. Being a conservative, Facebook is constantly deleting my posts and shutting down my profile (Facebook jail) for not meeting their community standard. Some of my post were praising President Trump and the efforts of other conservatives around the world. Most of the ones I get shutdown for are the ones chastising the evil Islamic cult. Islam is not a religion. It is an evil political cult that wears the mask of religion to get its foot in the door on it’s way to overthrowing your government and instilling its evil Sharia Law. No not all Muslim are involved with active terrorism but they majority of moderate Muslims look the other way while terrorist conduct training activities and store weapon and supplies in their mosques throughout our nation. They come here as refugees with multiple wives and a slew of children using our welfare system, food stamps, and Social Security system of which they have never paid a penny to support. Polygamy(having more than one wife) is against our laws and they get paid for each wife and child they have. Why should they work when they get paid over $100,000 a year to sit on their ass and destroy our economy. (passive terrorism). For the most part I have never heard anything but disapproval from them about living in America where they refuse to assimilate and want us to cater to their ways of live changing laws to accommodate their sick Sharia Laws. If they are so unhappy here why don’t they go back to where they came from. Our disabled/homeless veterans, and disabled/homeless families deserve the money being paid to the undeserving Muslim Refugees and illegal aliens living here and pushed on us by the liberal Democrats who are just filling their pockets with illegal money Soros and others provide for the over thrown of our American Constitutional Republic. As a whole I’m sure most Americans do not want Socialism/Communism in our government. We fought for years to stop it.

    Reply
    • Knobby

      Rick-
      Good post. Great points. One misconception: ” If they are so unhappy here why don’t they go back to where they came from.” Islamic code/law/practice is all about world domination. The unhappy types are the hard-core adherents. They may have been sent here to play a role in the process by wealthy folks back in their hood. They are willing if need be to strike and even pay with their life if they are told by their hard-core Imam this is required of them to fulfill their duty. As you point out with “passive terrorism” they can be extremely effective by bleeding the government for 30 years as opposed to one suicide bombing.

      The “moderate” Muslims here in the US are actually in violation of their own religious edicts, because they have the sense to realize life is better when you adapt and assimilate, make friends, and raise a family in a peaceful co-existence with the local society. This is the majority of US- based Muslims.

      The moderates are between a rock and a hard place. They just want to live, do their job, raise their kids, love their family, and support themselves. Just like any good American. If they speak their mind and come out against the radicals, they will get retribution. Nothing polite, mind you.

      If you want to know the future (unless something changes – and quickly), read up on big-city issues in France, Spain, Belgium, and Germany. Muslim sectors of cities that are no-go zones even for the police. Not unlike the gang-controlled neighborhoods on Chicago, NYC, and Boston in the Prohibition era, except the police were paid to stay out back then.

      Reply
    • Rebekah garrison

      The invasion must stop
      I refused to be a Facebook user until lately and I only wanted to stay up with distant relations but I am seriously disappointed and will probably quit any further activity in Facebook!!!

      Reply
  10. BILL FISCHER

    HOW CAN I PUT MY NAME ON THAT LAW SUIT? FACE BOOK IS JUST A BARBARIAN AND ILLEGAL SUPPORTING ORGANIZATION AND ANY ONE THAT DISAGREES WITH THEM IS AUTOMATICALLY PUT IN FACE BOOK JAIL TO KEEP THEM FROM QUIET

    Reply

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