Lawsuits in Chicago and Vienna challenge Facebook's data practices
Facebook has been hit with a new class-action lawsuit in Vienna over alleged rights violations ranging from the company (allegedly) breaking European privacy laws to its (alleged) cooperation with the National Security Agency's surveillance programs.
The lawsuit follows another suit filed in Chicago earlier this week. That lawsuit alleges that Facebook violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy act of 2008 by storing all the facial recognition data used to automatically tag people in photos.
Both suits come after regulators across Europe have increased their scrutiny of Facebook's data practices. As the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month:
Government privacy watchdogs from France, Spain and Italy have in recent weeks joined a group of regulators investigating the social-networking company’s privacy controls, officials said, doubling the number of European countries analyzing the way Facebook handles the personal information and connections gleaned from more than 300 million users in Europe.
The three regulators join a Dutch-led effort, accompanied by authorities in Germany and Belgium, that is examining the way Facebook combines data from its services, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, to target advertising. Also under investigation is Facebook’s use of its “like” buttons that could track Internet browsing habits, regulators say. Facebook recently pushed back on some of the criticisms that led the watchdogs to look into its practices. It refuted most of the claims made by Belgian researchers -- though it admitted cookies were installed on some non-Facebook-users' devices -- in "a list of corrections and clarifications for a number of misstatements" in the report.
Yet these lawsuits make it clear that Facebook's woes aren't going to end when Belgian researchers stop looking into its data privacy practices. The Vienna suit shows that people are still concerned about the company's reported cooperation with NSA programs; the Chicago suit shows the concerns aren't restricted to Europe.