Digital Rights Ireland Preparing to Sue Facebook Over Data Leak

Digital Rights Ireland is preparing to sue Facebook over the recently discovered data leak of half a billion users. It urges EU citizens to join.

Earlier this month, we reported on the massive security incident that saw 533 million Facebook users personal information compromised. Facebook, for its part, tried to dismiss the incident as old 2019 data and that there’s nothing further to really talk about. Security experts, however, disagree and point out that users were never notified of this incident in the first place.

Now, this incident could start costing money. Digital Rights Ireland is preparing to sue the large platform on behalf of European citizens. It is urging European citizens to join in on this lawsuit. From the BBC:

A digital privacy group is preparing to take a case to the Irish courts on behalf of EU citizens affected.

Antoin Ó Lachtnain, director of Digital Rights Ireland (DRI), warned other tech giants its move could be the beginning of a domino effect.

“This will be the first mass action of its kind but we’re sure it won’t be the last,” he said.

“The scale of this breach, and the depth of personal information compromised, is gob-smacking.”

He added: “The laws are there to protect consumers and their personal data and it’s time these technology giants wake up to the reality that protection of personal data must be taken seriously.”

Digital Rights Ireland posted their own press release complete with information on how European citizens can join the lawsuit:

Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) is calling on victims of the recent major Facebook data breach to join a legal case against the tech giant in what will be the largest-ever mass action of its kind.

  • Digital Rights Ireland is inviting Europeans affected by the recent breach of personal data by Facebook to join a mass action lawsuit at facebookbreach.eu
  • DRI will sue Facebook to recover damages for those affected, a first for legal actions against tech companies in Europe.
  • The case will be filed in the courts of Ireland on behalf of thousands of Facebook users.

EU citizens among the half a billion people affected by the recent data breach can sign up at facebookbreach.eu to sue Facebook for damages. Personal data – including individuals’ names, Facebook IDs, and phone numbers – were compromised as part of the major breach.

You might recall our coverage of what this means for Canadian citizens. In our report last week, we noted that Canada’s privacy commissioners are effectively powerless to do anything about these incidences outside of writing strongly worded letters. All that is thanks to a good deal of feet dragging by the federal government to pass badly needed privacy reform laws.

While the commissioners might technically be powerless to do anything about this, private citizens, however, are a different story. You might recall that when Facebook effectively told Canada’s Privacy Commissioner’s to pound sand during the Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2018, commissioners stepped out of their roles and into the role of private citizens to sue Facebook.

Well, even in Canada, you are legally able to sue an entity for losses and damages. If their personal information is compromised, and it can be traced back to this security incident, then that makes a lawsuit – even a class action lawsuit, legally plausible. It requires convincing a judge and overcoming the deep pockets of Facebook, but it’s by no means mission impossible. So, even if the government can’t help, ordinary citizens aren’t exactly out of options here.

Still, Lachtnain is right that this forming lawsuit might not be the last. It could very well be the first domino to fall in holding Facebook to account for what happened. We’ll have to wait and see if momentum builds on the legal front of this case.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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