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$15 Billion Dollar Facebook Lawsuit Brings User Privacy Issues Into The Spotlight

October 27, 2015

Last week’s dismissal by U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila, of a $15 billion dollar consumer privacy lawsuit against Facebook has brought the issue of “User Privacy” into the spotlight.

At issue with Facebook was a case brought forward by subscribers who accused the company of secretly tracking their internet activity after they logged off of their Facebook accounts.

The case essentially revolved around the fact that while the consumers did give their permission to have “cookie” files installed on their computers, which tracked their web browsing while logged on, they did not authorize the same tracking of their computer browsing once they had signed off of their Facebook accounts.

In the case, plaintiffs accused Facebook of violating the U.S. Wiretap Act, saying that they did not agree to have their online activity monitored when they were no longer online with Facebook.

In this particular case, Judge Davila granted Facebook a dismissal in the case, but did so on the grounds that the Plaintiffs did not show “realistic economic harm or loss.”

The judge did give the plaintiffs in the case until November 30 to revise their claims, including invasion of privacy and violations of the Wiretap Act.

The ruling in the Facebook case really brings into light the issue of your privacy rights as a consumer, and some basic knowledge that everyone should know.

“There’s really no way to completely protect your privacy when you are online,” says Vincent D. Howard of Howard Law, PC. “However, it is still important to make sure that you keep confidential information such as banking, credit cards, and personal security, as private as you possibly can, and it’s important to make sure that your privacy laws are not being broken or abused by companies once they have the information you DID provide them. Just because you gave your permission for a company to use your private information, doesn’t mean you gave the permission to abuse your information.”

There is an excellent resource that consumers can turn to in order to learn more about how their private information is gathered by online service providers and companies, and can be found on the Non Profit website “Privacy Rights Clearinghouse” or by clicking the link below: https://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs18-cyb.htm

And always remember, if you suspect that your privacy rights are being violated by any company or organization, you can reach out to us here at Howard Law and we can assess what legal actions you may be eligible to take.

“It’s important for people to know that they have rights in the arena of online privacy,” adds Vincent Howard.