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article imageFacebook wins privacy case in Canada

By Daniel Woods     Jun 21, 2015 in Technology
After losing an earlier case which ruled Facebook had violated user's privacy, the tech giant wins appeal at Canadian Supreme Court.
A Supreme Court judge in British Columbia has upheld a legal appeal brought by Facebook Inc. over breaches of member privacy.
The dispute centred around Facebook's advertising product, Sponsored Stories.
In 2014, Deborah Douez from Vancouver won a ruling against Facebook on the grounds that names and profile pictures of members had been used to endorse certain products without their consent, breaching Section 4 of British Columbia's Privacy Act.
The court certified a class-action lawsuit judging the Privacy Act took precedence over Facebook’s Terms of Use, and applied to all British Columbia residents who were Facebook members between January 1, 2011 and May 30, 2014.
But a three-member panel of the British Columbia Court of Appeal unanimously ruled in favour of Facebook. They determined that the judge in 2014 had interpreted the law erroneously.
Although lawsuits filed under the Privacy Act are to be heard in the British Columbia Supreme Court, the panel deemed this did not override a clause in Facebook’s Terms of Use, which states all legal disputes against the company be lodged in Santa Clara County, California.
Chief Justice Robert James Bauman stated:
Section 4 is a rule of subject matter competence that, like all B.C. law, applies only in B.C.. California courts determine for themselves, using California law, whether they have territorial competence over any given proceedings.
A spokesperson was unavailable for comment, but in an email Facebook wrote, “We are pleased with the court’s ruling that our terms are fair and apply to all users.”
Douez's lawyer Christopher Rhone has not said whether they will pursue the case further but made the prescient point “It’s important for British Columbians to have their privacy rights protected by the courts of this province”.
More about Facebook, facebook privacy, Legal, British columbia, facebook advertising
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