Facebook tracking lawsuit dismissed by judge
July 4, 2017 05:25 pm
A federal judge has dismissed an Internet tracking lawsuit against Facebook in a decision with potentially broad impact for many of the social media giant’s users.
The decision, filed late Friday in California, gave Facebook a win in a lawsuit that accused the company of improperly tracking users’ Internet usage between April 22, 2010, and September 26, 2011, even after they had logged out of their Facebook accounts.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to Monday emails seeking comment. In a written statement, Facebook said the company was “ pleased with the court’s ruling.”
The lawsuit argued that the tracking violated federal and California laws on privacy and wiretapping by storing digital cookies on users’ Internet browsers that tracked their visits to non-Facebook websites that featured the company’s ubiquitous “like” buttons.
Facebook had promised that logging out would delete the cookies, the lawsuit charged. However, Facebook continued to receive the information until an independent researcher publicly disclosed the issue in Sept. 2011, the lawsuit said.
Seeking class-action status on behalf of other Facebook users, the now 5½-year-old lawsuit characterized the tracking as “the single most pervasive and grave threat to data privacy today.”
However, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila ruled that plaintiffs in the lawsuit “have not established that they have a reasonable expectation of privacy” in the electronic addresses of the Internet pages they visit.
Davila also ruled that Facebook had not “intercepted” the electronic communications in potential violations of wiretap laws because the company was a party to those communications.
Additionally, the decision said the plaintiffs failed to establish a “realistic economic harm or loss” stemming from Facebook’s comment.
Davila’s decision barred the plaintiffs from amending and re-filing the privacy and wiretapping allegations but allowed them to pursue a renewed breach of contract claim.
The judge previously had dismissed an earlier legal version of the lawsuit in Oct. 2015.
Source: USA Today