Facebook Users Take Battle Over Tracking To Appellate Court

A group of Facebook users plan to ask a federal appellate court to revive a lawsuit accusing the company of violating their privacy by tracking them throughout the Web via the "Like" button.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, Calif. dismissed the case last month, ruling that the users couldn't proceed with allegations that Facebook violated its privacy promises. The consumers recently filed papers initiating an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Davila's ruling stemmed from a lawsuit alleging that Facebook violated a host of federal and state laws, as well as its own privacy policy, by collecting data about people through its social widget. The consumers said Facebook gathered data about its users whenever they visited sites with a "Like" button, even if the users were logged out of Facebook at the time.

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Davila dismissed all claims last year. He said Facebook didn't violate the federal wiretap law because it didn't "intercept" communications on sites with a "Like" button. That law prohibits companies from intercepting communications without the consent of at least one party.

"The fact that a user’s web browser automatically sends the same information to both parties does not establish that one party intercepted the user’s communication with the other," he wrote in July.

He also ruled in November that the users couldn't proceed with claims that Facebook violated its own policies.

The social networking service is also facing another privacy battle in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That matter stems from allegations that Facebook tracked users at health sites -- including ones operated by the American Cancer Society, Melanoma Research Foundation and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center -- via the "Like" widget.

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