Ontario law firm files class action suit against Facebook over data privacy scandal

The lawsuit seeks $62,216,100 in damages, as well as an additional $1,000 for each member of the suit

A London, Ontario-based law firm has launched a class action lawsuit against Facebook and its Canadian subsidiary for the social network’s role in the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.

The filing was submitted to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on May 2nd, 2018 — the same day that Cambridge Analytica announced that it would be ceasing its operations in the U.K.

The suit — filed by Siskins LLP — lists Etobicoke, Ontario-resident Jessica Simpson as its primary plaintiff, claiming that Facebook unlawfully “invaded the private affairs or concerns of the class members, or any of them, in a way that a reasonable person would regard the invasion as highly offensive causing distress, humiliation or anguish.”

The class action seeks $62,216,100 CAD in damages as well as an additional $1,000 for all Canadian Facebook users affected by the breach.

Facebook reported that 622,160 Canadians were affected by the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

“This class proceeding arises from [Facebook’s] violation of the class member’s privacy rights in one of the largest privacy breach incidents of our time,” reads an excerpt from the suit filing.

While the class action mentions Cambridge Analytica, it’s important to note that the lawsuit doesn’t seek damages from the U.K.-based data analytics company. Instead, the suit specifically outlines Facebook and Facebook Canada as the sole defendants.

According to the filing, Facebook had the duty to “responsibly collect, store and manage the Facebook information,” “prevent the Facebook information from being accessed by unauthorized third parties,” and “timely detect and properly respond to the privacy breach.”

“[Facebook] fell short of those responsibilities,” reads another excerpt. “They failed to adopt, maintain and/or enforce proper policies and practices to protect the class members’ Facebook information.”

Siskinds lawyer Sajjad Nematollahi told MobileSyrup that the “class action concerns the fundamental privacy rights of hundreds of thousands of Canadians, and engages the interests of Canadians at large in protecting the privacy of their affairs.”

“In the Big Data age, we must ensure that companies collect and manage personal information responsibly, and with appropriate regard to the overarching public interest in maintaining the integrity of personal information,” said Nematollahi, in an email to MobileSyrup.

Facebook declined to comment on the class action suit, but directed MobileSyrup to a March 16th, 2018 blog post by Paul Grewal, the company’s vice president and deputy general counsel.

“We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information. We will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens,” said Grewal, in the March 16th post.

As previously reported, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized for his company’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Via: Toronto Star

Correction 03/05/2018 4:49pm ET: This article incorrectly stated the Siskinds LLP is based out of Waterloo, Ontario. It is based out of London, Ontario, and has offices in Toronto and Quebec City.