Facebook jurisdiction

One of the biggest issues, in internet or cyber related crime is the subject of jurisdiction. With the increase popularity of social media platforms and in particular facebook and even twitter, it is always argued what jurisdiction does Facebook or twitter have outside their home jurisdiction of the USA.

There is case law in Australia, especially in the regards to the tort of defamation where the Australian High Court  in Dow Jones and Company Inc v Gutnick (2002) 210 CLR 575 ruled that Mr Gutnick was defamed by articles that were published on an online article published and held on a server in the USA that originated from a news articles regarding Mr Gutnick’s alleged business dealings.

So it has been tested in Australia – internet jurisdiction. However, I am currently watching with great interest is a case in Austria that is challenging facebook jurisdiction where a Austrian law graduate Max Schrems has brought a class action lawsuit against Facebook on behalf of 25,000 facebook users.

Mr Schrems has accused Facebook of violating European privacy laws in the way it collects and forwards data.

Mr Schrems – has brought the claim to stop the mass surveillance by facebook. Mr Schrems also alleges that privacy laws are breached when Facebook monitors users when they activate the site’s “like” buttons.

Mr Schrems also alleges that Facebook has co-operated with a surveillance system by the US National Security Agency called Prism. which involves more than 900 European users of Facebook which includes a compensation claim of about €500 (693.07 AUD) per person.
It will be interesting to see how this pans out in court, and if the ruling is in the favour of Mr Schrems, there could be further class actions towards Facebook and other social media sites around the world.

A very interesting time… watch this space, it will be interesting to see how Australia would handle a similar case.