Facebook faces new class-action lawsuit after data-harvesting scandal

One million people in England and Wales have filed a second class-action lawsuit against Facebook over allegations it failed to protect their personal data following a scandal over data harvesting.

On Tuesday, journalist and writer Peter Jukes said he had sued Facebook for unspecified but “substantial” damages three years after the social media giant were fined in Britain for the way third-party app “This Is Your Digital Life” collected user data without consent between 2013-15.

It is the second lawsuit alleging that Facebook allowed third-party apps to harvest the data of friends without their consent. Attorney Milberg London, which advises a client on a similar lawsuit filed last October, said it was surprised to hear about the rival lawsuit.

The cases have put a spotlight on a scandal that began with allegations that Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy hired by Donald Trump in 2016, accessed the personal information of millions of Facebook users.

In 2018, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined Facebook 500,000 pounds ($687,000) for processing user data unfairly by giving app developers access to their data and that of their friends without sufficiently clear and informed consent between 2007-14.

“The Information Commissioner’s Office investigation into these issues … found no evidence that any UK or EU users’ data was transferred by (This Is Your Digital Life) app developer Aleksandr Kogan to Cambridge Analytica.”

Cambridge Analytica, which filed for bankruptcy in 2018, has denied using such data for the 2016 US election campaign. And it has also denied working on the Leave.UK campaign for Brexit in 2016. It is being brought on behalf of adult Facebook users who were “friends” with a Facebook user before May 2015. Jukes is being advised by the US law firm Hausfeld.

In Britain, “opt-out” data privacy class actions still remain uncommon, which are lawsuits that bind a group without their consent unless they opt-out.

In April, the UK Supreme Court will hear a bellwether case against Internet giant Google over alleged unlawful tracking of iPhone users in 2011 and 2012.

Originally Published In Express Tribune