Facebook faces a second London High Court action on allegations that it failed to protect the personal details of about one million people in England and Wales, in the most recent lawsuit that arose out of the data collection scandal.
Journalist and writer Peter Jukes said on Tuesday that he filed a lawsuit for unspecified but “substantial” damages three years after the social media giant were fined in Britain on how the third party app “This Is Your Digital Life” collected Facebook users’ data without consent between 2013 and 2015.
The lawsuit is the second to claim that Facebook has allowed third-party apps to collect information from friends without their permission or knowledge. Litigation firm Milberg London, which advised on a similar claim filed last October, said it was surprised to hear about the rival lawsuit.
The cases brought a fresh spotlight on the scandal that began with allegations that Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy hired by former President Donald Trump’s 2016 U.S. election campaign, had access to the personal data of millions of Facebook users.
The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined Facebook 500,000 pounds ($687,000) in 2018 for unfair processing of users’ personal data by allowing app developers access to their information and that of their friends without sufficiently clear and informed consent between 2007 and 2014.
A Facebook spokesperson said: “The Information Commissioner’s Office investigation into these issues … found no evidence that any UK or EU users’ data was transferred by (“This Is Your Digital Life” app developer Dr Aleksandr) Kogan to Cambridge Analytica,” without giving any further comment.
Cambridge Analytica, which started bankruptcy proceedings in 2018, denied that it had used the data for the U.S. election campaign in 2016. It also said that its work pitch for the Leave.UK breeze campaign in 2016 was unsuccessful.
Facebook was sued by Australia’s ACCC consumer watchdog over the Onavo Protect VPN service that Facebook was forced to shut down in 2019.
Facebook was also fined 6.7 Billion Won by South Korea. The US tech giant shared personal information of at least 3.3 million users without their consent, the South Korean government said.
The latest London claim is made on behalf of adult Facebook users who were “friends” with users of the app before May 2015. Jukes is advised by the U.S. law firm Hausfeld and Balance Legal Capital is financing the claim.
U.S.-style “opt-out” data privacy class actions that automatically bind a defined group to a lawsuit unless individuals opt-out are still unusual in Britain.
The UK Supreme Court is expected to determine the law in April when it hears a bellwether case against Internet giant Google over alleged unlawful tracking of iPhone users in 2011 and 2012 through third party cookies.