Oct 072011
 
 October 7, 2011  Business, Court

The other day, I expressed some irritation with the rush to litigation that seems to surround revelations of flaws or problems with applications and platforms.  But there’s a case against Facebook that may be a cut above the rest in its intention.   Filed by a lawyer in Kansas, the AP describes the lawsuit:

Graham asks the federal court to decide whether the interception was intentional, the extent of communications intercepted and stored, and whether the court should prohibit Facebook from intercepting such communications when a user is not logged in.

“The case raises important questions that the court should consider,” said David Jacobs, a consumer advocacy fellow for the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

The lawsuit filed in Kansas is similar to another case filed last week in California arising out of the revelation that Facebook placed cookies on the browsers of its users that traced their Internet activity even when they were not logged into Facebook, Jacobs said.

Both lawsuits seek to certify as its class the 150 million users of Facebook in the United States. Both were filed under a provision of the federal Wiretap Act which prohibits interception of wire, oral or electronic communications, Jacobs wrote in an email. The Kansas lawsuit differs in that it also alleges several state law claims, including violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.

 

Read more on FOXnews.

The issue of whether certain activities – assuming, for the moment, they have occurred – violate the Wiretap Act is an important one. ECPA is sorely in need of updating. Everyone seems to agree on that.  Will the courts decide issues that Congress should have addressed already? Will these lawsuits poke Congress into bringing a bill to the floor that updates ECPA – and if so, will privacy advocates be happy with what is proposed or will any updates give businesses and law enforcement more power and consumers less protection?

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