Judge throws out Facebook lawsuit, says it's users' responsibility to protect their privacy


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Facebook has struggled with a number of privacy lawsuits in the past, but the social network was handed a big win yesterday when a US judge dismissed a case against the company over its tracking activities.

The lawsuit revolved around the way Facebook tracks people when they are logged out of the site. The platform installs cookies on users’ browsers to track them whenever they visit websites that have embedded “Like” buttons.

The plaintiffs claim this essentially means Facebook is tracking users’ web activity and is violating US federal and California laws around wiretapping and privacy. But U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California disagreed.

The judge said that steps could be taken to keep browsing histories private, adding that the plaintiffs failed to show Facebook illegally “intercepted” or listened in on communications.

“The fact that a user’s web browser automatically sends the same information to both parties,” Davila wrote, “does not establish that one party intercepted the user’s communication with the other.”

Plaintiffs also failed to demonstrate a reasonable expectation of privacy, or that Facebook’s actions caused any financial loss or damages. While they won’t be able to use the same arguments again, the plaintiffs can, if they wish, bring a new suit that pursues a breach of contract claim.

As Reuters notes, this is the second time Davila has ruled in Facebook’s favor. He dismissed an earlier version of the same case in October 2015.

Mark Zuckerberg’s firm will doubtlessly be pleased with the outcome, especially as it puts the onus on the users to protect their privacy, something many people aren’t going to bother doing.

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Posts: 2,064   +855
People should realize already Facebook is just there to profit off their personal information, if this upsets you delete your account.


Posts: 3,068   +1,389
Ghostery is a very nice addon for blocking things like this. Very rarely, it does interfere with websites though - I just disable briefly and reenable.


Posts: 456   +139
1) This is such a load of crap. Most users have no idea how to turn off cookies for a site and if they do, they often get blocked by sites, so...

2) I agree that if you expect privacy from most online sites like Facebook, you should probably expect this, also. It's partly why I don't use that junk.

3) So...if you want to track and look up that judge's browsing history...it's apparently no problem...would be interesting to see, I'm sure.