Facebook has won its latest class action case in a long-running legal battle involving 25,000 European Facebook users. The class action was led by Austrian law student and privacy campaigner Max Schrems, and alleged that Facebook breached European privacy laws. The Austrian court held that they lacked jurisdiction to hear the case, which sought €500 compensation for each claimant, totalling €12.5m.
Mr. Schrems alleges that Facebook illegally tracked its users’ browsing habits via software installed on other web pages, and provided information to U.S. intelligence agencies, amongst other violations.
Facebook has welcomed the rejection with their statement: “This litigation was unnecessary and we’re pleased that the court has roundly rejected these claims.” Yet the ruling is an isolated victory for the social network, which is facing lawsuits across Europe over the way it handles its users’ personal data.
Mr. Schrems is undeterred by this ruling and plans to appeal against the decision. In a statement by Schrems’ lawyer, Wolfram Proksch, he responded: “This finding by the court is really very strange. Unfortunately it seems like the court wanted to forward this hot potato to the higher courts.”
The court has thrown the case out on procedural grounds rather than on its material facts, referring it on to a higher tribunal. A further 55,000 people have registered to take part in a second round, if the lawsuit proceeds.