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Facebook critic Max Schrems faces partial setback

From BBC - November 14, 2017

An Austrian privacy campaigner seeking to stop Facebook from transferring personal data out of the EU has been dealt a partial setback by one of Europe's top law officers.

Max Schrems has been told that he is unlikely to be able to bring a "class action" style case against Facebook's Irish unit in one of Austria's courts.

But he has instead been advised that he could sue the company on his own behalf.

Mr Schrems believes this could still let him set a precedent.

Although class actions are common in the US, the European equivalent - which are referred to as collective actions - are rarely accepted by local courts.

Mr Schrems had been seeking to claim 500 euros ($586; 448) in damages per person for about 25,000 people.

They represent volunteers who had signed up to be part of his effort to sue Facebook over alleged privacy rules violations - one of several tactics he has taken in his battle against the US company.

The activist said that pursuing a personal case would still "enable us to debate the illegal practices of Facebook in an open court for the first time".

But he voiced frustration at the fact that others might have to repeat the exercise.

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