When the historic civil suit against Facebook commences today in Vienna, Austria, hundreds of Danes will be paying extra close attention to the proceedings.
Some 358 Danes are among the 25,000 people who are part of the civil suit against the social media giant in a case that involves the allegedly illegal data collection and supply of information to the US National Security Agency (NSA).
“I believe it’s important to make an example. If no-one speaks up it will just continue,” Odense resident Peder Simonsen, one of the 358 Danes, told DR Nyheder. “I hope they learn that they need to respect that users have a right to privacy.”
“We are not as anonymous as we think – and my concern is that, with all this registration and analysis, we’ve reached a point where it’s affecting the freedom of people.”
Not about money
Led by the noted Austrian piracy activist Max Schrems, the suit is the first of its kind. It alleges that Facebook’s operating methods are in violation of Austrian and EU privacy laws.
Schrems and the civil suit are seeking symbolic compensation of 500 euros. It’s not about the money, Simonsen confirmed.
“Surveillance has become so extreme with all the electronics we use, and which we are forced to use if we want to communicate with the public sector. Everything is registered and saved – and it’s obvious that it’s shrinking citizen freedom.”