back to article EU court advised: Schrems is a consumer in Facebook case, but can't file class-action

Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems' bid to bring a class-action lawsuit against Facebook has been dealt a blow by the advocate general advising the European Court of Justice. The PhD student has been embroiled in a years-long battle with Facebook over its privacy policies and data-sharing with US spy agencies. It has seen …

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Pint

In Schrem we trust,

In Zuck we're bust.

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Anonymous Coward

Just give Facebook the Finger

the middle one naturally.

There was life on this planet before (anti-)social media came along you know.

Note to Farcebork, I've never had an account on your site. Any account purporting to be me is a fake so deal with it.

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Re: Just give Facebook the Finger

Part of the problem is that you don't have to agree to anything at all for FarceBork to build a profile on you. Web pages with a FarceBork logo on them allow them to track your browsing, other uploading your information illegally*, people mentioning you in their posts, etc, etc all go towards building up a detailed profile of you and your activities.

And all without any consent whatsoever, and then exported outside of the EU without any legal protection.

So a big part of the case is about FarceBork basically sticking one digit up to EU data protection laws as a matter of basic operations.

* When they pester users to "just upload your contacts - it'll make things easier" without spelling out in big clear print and simple words that this is a criminal activity in the EU unless you get consent from every person who's details you upload.

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Re: Just give Facebook the Finger

"Note to Farcebork, I've never had an account on your site. Any account purporting to be me is a fake so deal with it."

It doesn't matter, I'm sure plenty of others are posting stuff about you on your behalf...like it or not.

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Re: Just give Facebook the Finger

When they pester users to "just upload your contacts - it'll make things easier" without spelling out in big clear print and simple words that this is a criminal activity in the EU unless you get consent from every person who's details you upload.

Is this true? I've read some stuff about data protection, but it's all been approached from the point of view of a "company" and their handling of inidividual's personal data. I can see that uploading your contacts/phonebook might be a questionable thing to do, but is it actually illegal?

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Re: Just give Facebook the Finger

Finger? One Finger?

At the very least the full Antonio Banderas gesture (tm): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sa9oMej5B8

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just give Facebook the Finger

"but is it actually illegal?"

Uploading your contacts - no, as an individual, you have the right to have a private contact list, and use a tool (Thunderbird, Outlook, Facebook) to send them all a message at the same time.

However, if Facebook decides to store those email addresses for anything else than your own personal use (i.e., attach more information to it), then yes, it would most likely be illegal as it becomes their own file, not yours anymore. They'd need consent from all people in the file for that, so they know what their data is used for, have access to it.

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Anonymous Coward

All these Schrems motions

Are chipping away at Facebook's indestructibility.... This guy is the equivalent of 'Shadow Brokers' to the NSA. I believe this is an ongoing process. Every time Facebook fucks up, Schrems will shine another light on it. So I think it will play nicely into GDPR, and any potential lawsuits that happen from that, as has been discussed on here before. But lets see....

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Trollface

Facebook is right...

He isn't a consumer...

He's the product...

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WTF?

So it seems like the ECJ just outlawed class action

Is this for social media platforms or for any company?

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Re: So it seems like the ECJ just outlawed class action

They seem to have contradicted themselves as they first imply that you cannot take advantage of an existing lawsuit (I may not have expressed that well) but then go on to talk about concentration of of claims in one jurisdiction. My reading of that would be that other people in Austria could join yet there were some in the group looking to join the class-action.

Clearly, I am not a lawyer, they would respond to you by saying something like 'that will need some consideration, €500 per hour please'

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So it seems like the ECJ just outlawed class action

It's not an ECJ ruling yet, it's merely the advocate general advise. If the ECJ ends up agreeing with his interpretation of the law, then blame the law, and contact your MEP to get it modified.

Honestly, he only part that I don't understand is "consumers domiciled other places of the same Member State".

Really, it can't be a huge surprise that Australians can't sue a US company in a EU jurisdiction, can it?

As for other member states, it probably is because, to improve consumer rights, they got the right to sue in their own country, rather than having to go to the company's country in case of cross-border sales.

But same member state, I find it odd. I wonder what the "domiciled other places" means exactly. Different flat? Neighborhood? City?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So it seems like the ECJ just outlawed class action

Re: Really, it can't be a huge surprise that Australians can't sue a US company in a EU jurisdiction, can it?

Johnny Foreigner sues other foreigners for alleged libel outside the UK in London courts, so why not this?

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Re: So it seems like the ECJ just outlawed class action

"Re: Really, it can't be a huge surprise that Australians can't sue a US company in a EU jurisdiction, can it?"

For the purposes of EU Data Protection law, Facebook is an Irish company. Because Facebook chose Ireland as the place to face the music for EU data protection issues. It's the Irish data protection commissioner refusal to enforce EU law that is the issue here.

...And Schrems is Austrian not Australian.

Hmm, I think I'm answering a Facebook shill.

"Johnny Foreigner sues other foreigners for alleged libel outside the UK in London courts, so why not this?"

There has to be a connection to England, however tenuous for this to happen.

In this case though, it's about

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If geography is the qualifier

What about people who have used Facebook whilst visting Austria?

The use of the Austrian version of Facebook with adverts served in the local language surely infers the same rights as a resident to sue in the court of that country?

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LDS
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"could easily lead to legal costs of €10-20 million under the Irish system"

If Ireland don't ask Apple & C. to pay due taxes, they need to find money somewhere else...

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Anonymous Coward

It's expensive in Ireland but no where near €10-20 million

"for a data protection lawsuit of €500 could easily lead to legal costs of €10-20 million under the Irish system."

Irish Lawyers are as voracious as legal eagles anywhere else but only in their dreams could they wrangle €10-20 million from the Austrian.

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If the €500 falls within the small claims limit in a particular jurisdiction then why not death by a few million cuts - in this case small claims court cases? I don't doubt that FB would rather tackle one class action than find itself in every small claims court session up and down the EU.

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Just as happened with the banks over their fees all the little cases will get adjourned until one test case makes it through.

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"Just as happened with the banks over their fees all the little cases will get adjourned until one test case makes it through."

Yup, but as is being made clear, Schrems will be that test case.

Another case I'd like to see is one where someone doesn't have an account but FB have made a shadow profile from others' postings. That should raise some issues under GDPR.

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I'm still waiting for the "I don't have a Facebook account at all but Facebook put cookies on my machine without my consent and built a profile from that" decision.

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