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It appears that the jubilation of Facebook’s recent move on the New York Stock Exchange has already hit a bump in the road. Techies have discovered that the most famous social media platform on earth might have been violating federal wiretapping laws by tracking users even after they leave the site.
Facebook is being sued for $15 billion for tracking users, even after they have logged out of the social network, andviolating federal wiretap laws. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it is:Facebook faces nationwide class action tracking cookie lawsuit.
Today’s lawsuit, filed in Federal Court in San Jose, California, combines 21 separate cases across the U.S. in 2011 and early 2012. It’s an amended consolidated class-action complaint that claims the company is invading the privacy of its users by tracking them across the Internet. If the claimants are successful in their case against Facebook, they could prevent Menlo Park from collecting the huge amount of data it collects about its users to serve ads back to them.
Like the previous lawsuits, Facebook is once again being accused of violating the Federal Wiretap Act, which provides statutory damages per user of $100 per day per violation, up to a maximum per user of $10,000. The complaint also asserts claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Stored Communications Act, various California Statutes, and California common law. It’s worth noting that similar cases against Facebook and others filed under the wiretap law have been thrown out because browser cookies are simply not considered wiretaps and plaintiffs have difficulty proving any harm.
Stewarts Law is one of the firms leading the claim. “This is not just a damages action, but a groundbreaking digital-privacy rights case that could have wide and significant legal and business implications,” David Straite, a partner at Stewarts Law, said in a statement.