In a decision made late this past Friday, a US district judge dismissed a nationwide litigation which accused social media giant; Facebook of tracking users and violating privacy rights even if they were not on logged on their accounts.
Judge Edward Davilla claimed the plaintiffs did not show they had a big expectations concerning privacy or had suffered realistic economic harm.
Details of the Case against Facebook
The accusation was Facebook violated state (Californian) and federal privacy wiretapping regulations through storing cookies on the browsers of the users whose purpose was to track when they were visiting external sites that contained Facebook, ‘like’ buttons.
According to Judge Davilla, the plaintiffs should have taken the steps to keep their browsing histories privately designated and the case did not positively show that Facebook illegally collected information. He wrote a statement implying that because a user’s web browser automatically sends out the same information to both parties, which is Facebook and an external site, it does not create grounds to assume one party intercepted the communications of the user with the other.
Interestingly, this is not the first time the said judge has rejected a similar case filed against the social media giant. The case was 5 and half years old last year and entailed Facebook Internet Tracking Litigation.
Thus, it could be perceived to be bias on the part of the deciding party as this matter needs to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, the judge affirmed the plaintiffs would not be able to appeal or even file the same charges of wiretapping and privacy again.
They could only possibly bring forward a breach of contract claim to the court. The plaintiff legal party did not immediately respond today to requests of comment on the matter. The case was the same with Facebook, who also did not respond to comment requests.
Considerations for Privacy
The privacy debate has been had for some time now and one would think people are getting the message but it does not seem that way when such results become the norm. Unfortunately, in the world of connectivity and security, the two make a deadly combination which leads to the simultaneous chipping away of individual privacy while increasing access of private information to the corporations.
The need for connection has never been so strong for people in this era via technology. That means outsourcing judgement to social media platforms who already conduct profile matches for online dating apps and friendship suggestions on Facebook.
Unfortunately, the customer base tends to forget conveniently these corporations are not altruistic and each of them would fight to the death for 70 percent of the social media market. Bearing this in mind, it is not surprising that Facebook would allegedly use questionable means of getting information on client preferences and they would do a lot more to get ahead of the curve.
The response though from the judge is a telling sign of where the government stands on this matter. It is not a matter of the corporations being answerable for the means they use to get information and manipulate the masses; it is the individual user’s responsibility to manage how much data they release to the World Wide Web, which is clearly a shark’s feeding tank.