Pels Rijcken assists Data Privacy Stichting and Consumentenbond in legal proceedings against Facebook

Consumentenbond (The Dutch Consumers' Association) and the foundation Data Privacy Stichting (DPS) have won legal proceedings on the protection of privacy rights against Facebook. With the judgment, the road ahead is free for compensation for Dutch consumers.

In the Amsterdam District Court’s opinion Facebook Ireland acted unlawfully in the manner in which it handled the personal data of Dutch Facebook users.

The unlawful conduct consists, inter alia, of processing personal data for advertising purposes without a legally valid basis. This is only permitted if there is a basis for doing so as referred to in the law, such as consent. Facebook Ireland did not have this at its disposal in the relevant period of 10 years.

There was also no legal basis for the processing of special personal data, such as data on sexual preference, religion or health. The processing of these data required explicit consent. And Facebook did not have that.

Furthermore, Facebook has insufficiently informed its users about sharing their personal data with various third parties. Facebook shared not only personal data of the Facebook users themselves, but also from their friends.

The manner in which Facebook Ireland processed the personal data of Dutch Facebook users for advertising purposes was not only contrary to privacy legislation in the relevant period, but also constituted an unfair commercial practice.

Because of the District Court's considerations on how to deal with the GDPR and other privacy legislation, this ruling is also important for other pending class actions against Big Tech companies.

Pels Rijcken attorneys Gerrit-Jan Zwenne and Lars Groeneveld, together with Lemstra Van der Korst, assisted Data Privacy Stichting in these proceedings.