The Austrian law student’s class action lawsuit filed on Friday against Facebook, over alleged violations of user’s privacy rights, has garnered a lot of attention as more than 20,000 people (at the time of writing) have already signed up to join the movement in less than a week’s time.
The 26-year-old, Max Schrems, had made an appeal to a billion Facebook users, located anywhere outside the US and Canada, last week, to join a claim that he had filed at Vienna’s commercial court at www.fbclaim.com using their Facebook login.
The lawsuit accuses the social networking giant of allegedly violating data privacy policies through its participation in the US National Security Agency’s Prism surveillance programme aimed at accessing the personal data of Facebook and other web services users, its graph search feature, use of “big data” systems for spying on users as well as company’s non-compliance with EU privacy law.
According to Europe-V-Facebook.org campaign, the Austrian law allows for a group of people to assign their claims to a single person in this case, Schrems, who can sue on their behalf and redistribute any damages awarded. In such a case, legal proceedings are then run as a class action.
Schrems is claiming 500 Euros ($670) per user from Facebook in damages. In addition, he is also seeking injunctions under EU data-protection law at the Austria court. The Europe-V-Facebook campaign’s main aim is to make Facebook operate lawfully in the area of data protection.
Schrems said response to his appeal has been “giant, much more than expected” adding that most of the people to sign up were from Europe.
He said he has been continuously receiving positive emails and feedback appreciating his initiative in the direction.
It’s good to see that people are not only joining the campaign but are also donating money, which indicates for most people it is not a matter of getting money but of advancing the matter forward, Schrems added.