Judgment: ECJ: Consumer advocates may sue Facebook

ECJ: Consumer advocates may sue Facebook

According to the ECJ, consumer advocates are also authorized to file class action lawsuits against data protection violations. Photo: Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/dpa

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In the future, consumer advocates will be able to sue themselves against data protection violations. This was decided by the ECJ. Consumer centers criticized that Internet giant Facebook violated data protection.

In the future, consumer advocates will be able to sue against data protection violations at Internet giants such as Facebook without a specific order from those affected.

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) does not stand in the way of a German regulation according to which not only data protection officers can sue, but also consumer protection organizations can file collective actions, the European Court of Justice announced. This is in line with the aim of the GDPR, which is primarily to protect personal data.

The background is a procedure at the Federal Court of Justice (BGH). In May 2020, he asked the ECJ whether consumer protection organizations are entitled to sue against violations of data protection law. According to the BGH judge Thomas Koch, the specific dispute between consumer protection groups and Facebook is about a relatively clear violation of data protection law by Facebook. The umbrella organization of consumer centers had criticized that Facebook had violated data protection in the “App Center”, where free games from third-party providers are presented. Koch said in May 2020 that users remain unclear about what is happening to their data.


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