Privacy group calls for Irish people to join legal case against Facebook 6 months ago

Privacy group calls for Irish people to join legal case against Facebook

Comparable cases in other jurisdictions has seen damages awarded of between €300 and £12,000 for breach of one person’s rights.

A privacy group is planning to lead a mass legal action by Facebook users against the social networking platform to sue for damages after millions of people's personal information was published online.

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Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) has said the response of Facebook to the leaking of names, phone numbers, email addresses, location data and biographical information from 553 million users worldwide has been inadequate.

DRI is calling on residents of Ireland and the EU to join a legal case against the tech giant in what it says will be the largest-ever mass action of its kind.

The group said Facebook not only failed to implement privacy by design and by default to protect this user data, the company also failed to notify those affected when the leak occurred, and also failed to notify the Data Protection Commission.

DRI has already made a complaint to the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) and is now preparing to take the case to the Irish courts on behalf of individuals affected by the breach.

Chairperson of the DRI, Dr TJ McIntyre, said it will be seeking monetary damages in the case.

"Forcing companies like Facebook to pay money to users whose privacy rights they’ve violated is the most effective way to really change the behaviour of these big tech companies," McIntyre said.

"The prospect of class and mass actions is going to be a major impetus for the largest and most profitable of tech companies to become legally compliant and stop treating user data like a commodity. Facebook is a uniquely powerful company, reaching into the lives of its billion plus users, and they need to get this right.”

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The organisation has been successful in a number of high-profile data protection legal actions in the past and said that in comparable cases in other jurisdictions, damages have varied between €300 and £12,000 for breach of one person’s rights.

More information is available here.