Quebec Court Dismisses Privacy Suit Against Facebook

A class action lawsuit filed in Canada by 200 users against Facebook, will not be tried in Quebec Superior Court because that court declined jurisdiction over the matter.

A 200 plaintiff class-action privacy lawsuit filed in Canada against Facebook will not be tried in Quebec Superior Court.

Michel Déziel, J.S.C. refused to authorize certification of a class action lawsuit and dismissed the case outright. Judge Déziel wrote that he agreed with Facebook that the “Quebec courts do not have jurisdiction on the litigation because all the users of Facebook accepted, while joining itself to the site, to submit all the eventual recourses to the Californian courts of the district of Santa Clara.” Facebook users are not “customers to the direction of the civil Code of Quebec since their adhesion to the site is free.”

The lawsuit, St-Arnaud c. Facebook, Inc. was filed in July 2010 by the Merchant Law Group in Toronto. Like the firm’s Tony Merchant was quoted as saying by TechEye, “Facebook shamelessly breached the privacy of people who trusted it. Everything from naked teenage pictures sent to boyfriends to confidential business and family secrets sent six or ten years ago and likely forgotten now goes into the public domain.”

The lawsuit further claimws that the altered privacy rules put into place by Facebook, effectively misappropriated the users’ personal information. Merchant indicated these actions enabled targeted advertising toward the users, according to the Toronto Sun.

The changed privacy policy made public such information as photos, friends’ lists and users’ names, according to the suit. Merchant believes the users solely own their personal information submitted to Facebook.

This is not the first time Facebook has faced criticism in Canada, where well over 17 million people have accounts on the social network. Last year, after receiving backlash from Canada’s privacy commissioner, Facebook changed its policies to conform to Canada’s Personal Information and Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

What do you think — is this a case of user beware?

Publish date: April 11, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT