Privacy campaigner may sue Facebook, EU court rules

Activist Max Schrems can take Facebook's Irish division to a court in Austria over alleged privacy breaches, ECJ adviser says

Reuters/Thomas White/File Photo

An online privacy campaigner locked in a legal battle with Facebook can sue the social media giant, an adviser to Europe’s top court said on Tuesday.

The non-binding recommendation from a European Court of Justice advocate general means Austrian national Max Schrems can sue Facebook‘s Irish operation in an Austrian court.

Schrems is taking action over alleged breaches of EU privacy laws by US tech giants, including the tracking and collection of user data.

He will be able to continue his legal action in Austrian courts as a private consumer, but should not be able to file a class-action lawsuit, the advocate general also said. This means he will not be able to sue on behalf of other complainants with similar concerns.

Facebook, which had fought Schrems’ attempt to take the proceedings to an Austrian court, welcomed the legal opinion. Advocates general recommendations are usually followed by ECJ judges in most cases.

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