Lawsuit Against Facebook Data Breach Proceeds

After a judge blocked Facebook’s contention that it should “not be held liable for failing to protect users’ information” in a more than 30-million user data breach, a proposed class action lawsuit will move forward.

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9th Circuit Court of Appeals, San Francisco, California - Image
9th Circuit Court of Appeals, San Francisco, California - Image - Credit: Shutterstock

In 2018, more than 30 million users’ information were breached by hackers by exploiting bugs in Facebook’s software to obtain login to accounts. Bloomberg reported this as Facebook’s worst security breach to date. According to Bloomberg around 50 million user accounts were affected.

On June 21, a San Francisco federal appeals court blocked Facebook’s request to shut down the lawsuit, stating the class action suit could continue for Facebook’s “negligence and for failure to secure users’ data as promised,” Bloomberg reported. “The world’s largest social network portrayed itself as the victim of a sophisticated cyber-attack and argued that it isn’t liable for thieves gaining access to user names and contact information,” Bloomberg reported. “The company said attackers failed to get more sensitive information, including credit card numbers and passwords, saving users from any real harm.”

In September 2018, when the breach occurred, individuals Carla Echavarria and Derrick Walker filed a class action suit against the tech giant in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California on behalf of all persons in the U.S. whose Facebook account and data were compromised. The suit sought $5 million in damages for the more than 100 members nagtively affected by the breach.

The case alleges that Facebook failed to protect users’ information. “Unfortunately, despite numerous lapses in their approach to data security, Facebook still lacks the safeguards and protections for its users’ PII and that information remains at risk today and in the future, until Facebook is compelled to secure the PII stored on millions of United States citizens,” the suit alleges.

According to the blog Cyberscoop, the data breach sparked 11 lawsuits which have been consolidated into one case and include complaints such as “breach of contract, negligence and violations of unfair competition law.”

U.S. District Judge William Alsup rejected Facebook’s attempt to block the suit, stating that the evidence-gathering phase of this case should proceed “with alacrity,” according to Cyberscoop.

“This is one of the many legal matters besieging Facebook,” Cyberscoop wrote. “The Silicon Valley giant’s data-sharing deals with technology companies are under criminal investigation, according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, the company is preparing to pay a reported $5 billion to settle a Federal Trade Commission probe into whether it improperly shared information about tens of millions of users with Cambridge Analytica.”

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