Here’s Cory’s thing today on DRI’s case against Arsebook
Mass-action lawsuit against Facebook
Did your data get breached by Facebook in its vast, ghastly, 500,000,000
person valdez? The lovely folks at Digital Rights Ireland are suing
Facebook under the GDPR for money damages and they’d like to sign you up
to be part of the lawsuit.
You’re eligible if you live in the EU and your data was leaked. And,
thanks to the GDPR, your participation in the legal action could result
in Facebook being on the hook for real cash damages.
A successful mass-action against Facebook with monetary damages will be
a game-changer. That’s because the data that Facebook gathers on us is
very nearly worthless, and the company’s vast profits depend on even
more vast collection and cheap, reckless, sloppy data-handling.
Data isn’t the new oil, it’s the new oily rag, a highly flammable source
of the very lowest grade of crude, only profitable if you acquire it for
next to nothing, stockpile it in unimaginable quantities, and fail to
invest in prudent fire-suppression.
The DRI action is an example of the power of privacy laws to tip the
balance against dangerous business-models. It relies on the GDPR, the
flawed, first-of-its-kind privacy law passed in 2016, whose major
initial impact was to drive the European ad-tech sector to extinction.
Ad-tech is a hugely concentrated industry, with two US companies - FB
and Google - accounting for the vast majority of the business, which has
turned into a rigged casino where the house always wins, defrauding
publishers, advertisers, and users:
Despite this, Googbook are in it for the long-haul and have been
generally careful to keep their bad actions below the threshold for
extinction-level enforcement events. They’re conservative fraudsters -
unlike the scrappy scumbags chasing the table-scraps they left behind.
These scrappers - including the largely defunct EU ad-tech sector - are
not in it for the long haul. They have a certain amount of runway, and
either they attain profitability before it runs out, or they crash and burn.
Googbook plays it safe so it can play again tomorrow, but the little
guys play it fast and loose because they don’t know if they’ll even have
On top of that, Googbook has a vast war-chest of retained supernormal
profits that it can spend to defend itself when it gets into hot water,
so it can get away with stuff that annihilates the little firms at first
That’s why, five years into the GDPR epoch, the US Big Tech/ad-tech
duopoly that inspired its passage are stronger than ever, and the EU
tech sector the GDPR was supposed to help has faced sizable closures.
But this might just be the turning point. The GDPR has a form of
“private right of action”: the right of people who’ve been wronged to
bring their own legal action against the companies that had harmed them.
And it includes monetary damages, which can make the difference between
profitable and unprofitable commercial surveillance.
The combination means that DRI can fundraise to hire lawyers to
represent millions of Europeans together, without having to convince a
regulator or state attorney to take up their cause. Like I said, it’s a
This is all the more notable because of the current US debate about both
state-level privacy laws and a national privacy law, in which the
Serious People in the Room insist that a private right of action is off
the table, because Big Tech won’t stand for it.
That, of course, is exactly why we need it. Googbook’s tolerance for a
privacy law that can only be enforced by AGs and DAs is a gamble that
they can arm-twist, lobby, or sweet-talk government law-enforcers into
In the hands of law enforcement officials, the GDPR did nothing to curb
Googbook’s bad behavior. In the hands of the people it might result in
That’s why a private right of action should be the minimum standard for
every privacy law, state and federal.
Just a tiny little addendum. Why is this a private suit? I may be wrong but I believe it is because he Irish government refuses to fund enforcement at the Data Protection Commission. It’s not that the DPC don’t think Arsebook needs suing, it’s that they don’t have the budget for the lawyers to do so. As far as I’m concerned this should be actionable by the EU.
Check have you been pwned. If you have may I urge you to sue Arsebook with DRI?
Twitter should automatically append “fellow humans” to his tweets.
Whether? Okay, I’m surprised!
The number of Facebook and Instagram users on iOS agreeing to be tracked by the social networking behemoth for targeted ads has fallen drastically in the week since Apple’s iOS 14.5 debuted – and Zuck & Co have hit back.
Please can the virus of WhatsApp be excised?
I have a Facebook account and I don’t get rid of it because the inconvenience of not seeing family (and some arts groups) events would be a pain. I also don’t have any downside in that I don’t see any political ads at all and I don’t see any fash content. People I know just don’t share that kind of thing. I know it tracks me but it’s on one (work) computer and nothing else, including my phone, in a Mozilla tab specially for it and I don’t use Mozilla on that computer for anything else.
But WhatsApp has some really dodgy mob effects built in.
WhatsApp has sued India’s government in an attempt to strike down some provisions of the Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code that requires messaging services to identify “the first originator” of information if called upon to do so by law enforcement authorities.
India announced the Code in February 2021, justifying it as an essential instrument to safeguard the state, combat crimes such as child sexual exploitation, and avoid moral outrages by allowing “traceability’ of messages to their source. The law was also recommended as an equaliser that would hold digital platforms to the same standards required of publishers and broadcasters.
Facebook was aware of the true identity of the advertiser – the conservative marketing firm Rally Forge – and the deceptive nature of the ads, documents seen by the Guardian show, but the company determined that they did not violate its policies.