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Judge tosses lawsuit alleging Facebook eavesdrops on its users

04 July 2017

A US judge has expelled the suit blaming Facebook of following users web movement even after they logged out of its website.

According to a report on Business Insider, the plaintiffs' primary complaint was that Facebook stores browser cookies on user behavior from any website with a little Facebook "Like" button on it.

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Australian internet security blogger Nik Cubrilovic first discovered that Facebook was apparently tracking users' web browsing after they logged off in 2011. By their estimation, this behavior "violated federal and California privacy and wiretapping laws".

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila said that Facebook Inc. Davila said that the plaintiffs failed to prove that Facebook had in fact spied on them and had failed to take necessary precautions to protect their web browsing habits, such as the Digital Advertising Alliance's opt-out tool. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit accused Facebook of using the "Like" buttons integrated into third-party websites to track their online whereabouts. The case was ultimately dismissed by United States district judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, on the basis that Facebook users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. When a user clicks on an implanted like button, the browser sends a triggering data to both server of the page and Facebook.

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This is the second time Davila has dismissed similar lawsuits, having done so once before in October 2015.

When asked for comment a Facebook spokeswoman told The Guardian, "We are pleased with the court's ruling".

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Although the plaintiffs can no longer bring privacy and wiretapping claims, they can still pursue a breach of contract claim, added the judge.

Judge tosses lawsuit alleging Facebook eavesdrops on its users