LAWYERS IN THE UK AND US filed a joint class-action lawsuit against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica on Tuesday, accusing the firms of failing to protect the of personal data of more than 70.6 million users.
The suit, which also targets SCL Group Limited and Global Science Research Limited (GSR), alleges that Facebook "violated privacy and consumer-protection laws when it permitted app developers and other third parties to exploit its lax to non-existent enforcement practices."
It also claims that Cambridge Analytica, SCL and GSR improperly collected data from Facebook, including users' names, phone numbers, mailing and email addresses, political and religious affiliations, and interests.
"This was done to accomplish Cambridge Analytica's driving principle: to build psychological profiles of voters to affect election results in the United States and the United Kingdom," the lawyers alleged.
The suit asks for damages to be awarded to the plaintiffs, as well as injunctive relief "to ensure that Facebook's users are not injured by similar shenanigans again."
Jason McCue, of the London-based McCue and Partners, is leading the UK arm of the claim.
"The defendants effectively abused the human right to privacy of ordinary Facebook users and, if that were not enough, then the fruits of that abuse are alleged to have undermined the democratic process," he said.
"This case will go some way to ensure that neither of these things can happen in the future."
In response to the lawsuit, Facebook reiterated a comment from Paul Grewal, its deputy general counsel. "We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people's information. We will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens."
While Cambridge Analytica has yet to comment on the legal action, the firm this week, once again, claimed that "false accusations" were being made against the company.
It argued, among other things, that did not work at all on the Brexit Referendum; received data on 'only' 30 million US citizens; and that the Facebook data it received was legally obtained through a Facebook tool.
"It has become open season for critics to say whatever they like about us based on speculation and hearsay," said Cambridge Analytica's acting CEO Alexander Tayler.
"Conjecture and rumour is being portrayed as fact which is damaging and unfair to the company, its employees, and its clients. It would be impossible to address the hundreds of articles and broadcast segments that have misrepresented Cambridge Analytica or replicated false statements made by those focused on creating a political scandal."
Facebook reiterated a comment from Paul Grewal, its deputy general counsel. "We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people's information," he said in response to last week's lawsuit. "We will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens." µ
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