Max Schrems, 26, appealed last week to a billion
Facebook users to join a claim he filed at Vienna's commercial
court as part of his campaign.
Under Austrian law, a group of people may transfer their
financial claims to a single person - in this case, Schrems.
Legal proceedings are then effectively run as a class action.
The echo to his appeal has been "giant, much more than
expected", Schrems said, adding that most people to sign up were
"The emails and feedback have been really positive and what is
interesting is that many people say finally someone is doing
something in this direction," he said.
Schrems is claiming damages of 500 euros ($670) per user for
alleged data violations by Facebook, including aiding the U.S.
National Security Agency in running its PRISM program, which
mined the personal data of users of Facebook and other web
He is also seeking injunctions under EU data-protection law at
the court in data-privacy-friendly Austria.
Some of those joining his cause are donating money, he said. "It
is good to see that for most people it is not a matter of
(getting) money but of advancing the matter," he said.
Schrems, who already has a case involving the social network
pending at the European Court of Justice, invited others to join
his Vienna court action at www.fbclaim.com using their Facebook
Facebook, which has declined comment on the campaign, has come
under fire before for allegedly violating data-protection laws.
Most recently, Britain's data watchdog began investigating
whether a 2012 experiment on unwitting users, in which it tried
to alter their emotional state to see if their postings turned
more positive or negative.
The world's biggest social network, Facebook now has 1.32
billion users. It posted a 61 percent increase in sales in the
second quarter buoyed by mobile advertising, sending its shares
to a record high and valuing the company at almost $200 billion.
($1 = 0.7470 Euros)
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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