Schrems has launched the lawsuit in mid-August 2014, the Facebook critic could win over 25,000 users for it. In the class action, various aspects of data protection played a role, including the disclosure of information to US intelligence agencies. Part of the affair is the fact that users outside of North America have a business or legal relationship with the Irish representation of Facebook and not in the US.
Legally, the case is interesting and complicated: Because a class action against the US cannot be fought from Austria or the EU. Lawyer of Schrems has come up with a kind of trick. In simple terms, the plaintiffs have transferred their claims to a single person, who leads the action and then distributes any amounts subsequently obtained.
However, Michal Bobek, Advocate General of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), considers this so-called “assignment” as presumably inadmissible (via the standard ). In his estimation, such a quasi-class action suit from Austria would only be possible against an Austrian company, not against a company based in Ireland.
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In another aspect, however, Bobek sided with the privacy advocate. Because Facebook has argued that Schrems does not appear as a consumer because he could make money in this cause. Schrems denied this, however, and said that Facebook is running a “dirty bucket campaign” against him here. Whether the ECJ judges follow the assessment of the Advocate General, is yet to be seen, because there is no automatic mechanism here. You can follow the assessment, but you do not have to.