A data-privacy group is planning what it describes as the largest mass legal action of its kind against Facebook.
Earlier this week, the Data Protection Commission (DPC) announced that it had launched an inquiry under section 110 of the Data Protection Act 2018 after reports that personal data on Facebook users, relating to more than 500 million people, had been made available on the internet.
Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) is calling on those affected to join a legal case against the tech giant.
DRI has already made a complaint to the data watchdog, but it also says it will sue Facebook to recover damages for those affected, in what it says is a first for legal actions against tech companies in Europe. The case will be filed in the Irish courts.
“Forcing companies like Facebook to pay money to users whose privacy rights they’ve violated is the most effective way to really change the behaviour of these big tech companies,” said DRI chair Dr TJ McIntyre.
The group says Irish law does not provide for class actions in the way the US law does. In a mass action, large numbers of people are represented in a single complaint, with the same or very similar facts and laws applying in all of their situations.
Facebook has said that “malicious actors” obtained the data by scraping it from its platform before September 2019.
The tech giant said it was confident that it had addressed the issue that had allowed the information to appear online.