(1) Just as Facebook’s IPO has hit the market with full force, the company has been hit with a $15 billion nationwide class action tracking cookie lawsuit. The company has been logging users of its social network even after logging out as well as violating federal wiretap laws. (2)
Presently, the lawsuit filed in the Federal Court in San Jose, California, brings together twenty-one individual nationwide cases from 2011 and early 2012. (3) The amended consolidated complaint alleges that Facebook is engaged in unethical invasion of privacy of users by tracking them across the World Wide Web. If the claimants are successful in their case against Facebook, Menlo Park would consequently be prevented from securing user data upon which they depend to generate personalized ads back to them.
If this sounds familiar, it is no surprise. Facebook was hit with lawsuits in the past for violating the Federal Wiretap Act which “provides statutory damagers per user of $100 per day per violation, up to a maximum per user of $10,000.” (4) Also included in the complaint is the company’s violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Stored Communications Act, numerous California statutes, and California common law. (5) A recent Mediapost reports that past lawsuits filed under the wiretap law were thrown out because the court ruled that “browser cookies are simply not considered wiretaps and plaintiffs have difficulty proving any harm.”