Facebook Sued by Scottsdale Woman, Sharon Beatty, Over Site's Tracking of Web Browsing History While Logged Off; Class Action Ruling Sought

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Facebook calls it a glitch, but a Scottsdale woman and her Phoenix lawyer want to be compensated for the social media site's surreptitious tracking of Web browsing history.

Former state Attorney General Grant Woods filed the federal complaint on Friday for his client, Sharon Beatty of Scottsdale. But Woods is asking for the complaint to designated as a class action suit -- on behalf of 150 million U.S. Facebook users.

The new complaint, filed Friday, takes advantage of the furor over revelations this month about how Facebook tracks the browsing habits of Web users even if they're not logged in to Facebook.

An Australian technology blogger, Nik Cubrilovic, exposed the info-gathering problem in a September 25 article. Cubrilovic reported:

Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit that has Facebook integrated. The only solution is to delete every Facebook cookie in your browser, or to use a separate browser for Facebook interactions.


Facebook responded to questions by announcing that it intended to fix the cookie problem, and that user identification info wasn't stored by the company when users were logged out.

Concern over the issue isn't going away anytime soon: Two Congressmen and advocacy groups are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate, says ABC News. That article mentions a lawsuit over the issue that was filed in San Jose, California. A Kansas man also filed suit last week, alleging the same wiretap violations as Beatty's Arizona complaint.

Beatty alleges that Facebook is making a fortune on the stolen data:


Upon obtaining personal information and/or wire or electronic communications of the Plaintiff, Facebook conspired to use said information for target marketing which pertained to the Plaintiff and the individual Class members, over the Internet.


Her complaint demands that Facebook "disgorge" the money it has supposedly earned from selling users' info, plus damages and -- Woods has his fingers crossed -- attorney fees.

UPDATE: It turns out that Sharon Beatty is Woods' secretary.



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14 comments
Watchyourstep
Watchyourstep

Does anyone know if she has an Australian accent and is a female Scottsdale cop?

Nick Hentoff
Nick Hentoff

This lawsuit may be a tough sell if tried to an Arizona jury.   I have not read the complaint but as far as my own experience is concerned you are specifically told what integration means each time you link FB to a website.  Some sites only want to access your basic information.  Other sites want permission to  post items to your account on your behalf.  I never give that kind of permission and can't imagine why anyone would.  Personally, I know Facebook tracks my activity because I'm always bombarded with targeted ads based on key words I have used to do web searches and websites I have visited.   I also regularly check my Facebook applications to make sure I know exactly what permissions  have been granted and how many times information has been accessed and by whom.  Facebook is an amazing free service so I'm not particularly bothered by targeted tracking for advertising, as long as they tell you what they are doing.  They have to make their money somehow.

Wake up Arizona!
Wake up Arizona!

Mr. Grant Woods, Please read this book and your part in Arizona's history which has put ALL at risk for the mass industrial prison complex / police state that Arizona has become. We would like to see your attention directed to reforming and updating these outdated draconian laws that are destroying what was once a great state to live in and visit. If nothing is done, Arizona will continue to sink into the deeper dark hole the lawmakers have created.

New Book: "Sunbelt Justice: Arizona and the Transformation of American Punishment" « Prison Law Bloghttp://prisonlaw.wordpress... in 31 U.S. Adults are Behind Bars, on Parole or Probationhttp://www.pewcenteronthestate...

Concerned Citizen and Taxpayer
Concerned Citizen and Taxpayer

This is about going after a "giant" to make money. Sorry. Arizona has so many critical issues this Scottsdale woman and Grant Woods should be putting their time, energy and resources to "save" Arizona. Start with the big elephant in the room: Update, archaic draconian mandatory minimum sentencing which is mass incarcerating Arizona's people, being used as a "weapon" to get "easy" convictions that are growing the out of control prison system where the private prison corporations profit from. While other states are cutting back prison populations and reforming laws and saving taxpayers millions of $$'s, Arizona increased the state budget for Corrections, while all other agencies had their budgets slashed -- i.e. education, health care and community services. Arizona's Governor had her hand out for Federal Stimulus $$'s and got $50,000,000 that she gave directly to Arizona Department of Corrections. How has that been spent?  Where is the money for education and health care?

Concerned Citizen and Taxpayer
Concerned Citizen and Taxpayer

This is about going after a "giant" to make money. Sorry. Arizona has so many critical issues this Scottsdale woman and Grant Woods should be putting their time, energy and resources to "save" Arizona. 

Start with the big elephant in the room: Update, archaic draconian mandatory minimum sentencing which is mass incarcerating Arizona's people, being used as a "weapon" to get "easy" convictions that are growing the out of control prison system where the private prison corporations profit from. While other states are cutting back prison populations and reforming laws and saving taxpayers millions of $$'s, Arizona increased the state budget for Corrections, while all other agencies had their budgets slashed -- i.e. education, health care and community services. Arizona's Governor hand her hand out for Federal Stimulus $$'s and got $50,000,000 that she gave directly to Arizona Department of Corrections. How has that been spent?  Where is the money for education and health care?Arizona prison sentences among toughest for many crimeshttp://www.azcentral.com... Report 2010 - Pewhttp://www.pewcenteronthest...

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