Facebook suffered a legal setback on Monday when the Vienna Higher Regional Court ruled that users can file civil lawsuits against the firm over its handling of personal data.
The victory belongs to Austrian privacy advocate Max Schrems, who had challenged two lower court rulings that favored Facebook. According to news reports, this revives a suit filed by Schrems in 2014
The court determined that the General Data Protection Regulation allows consumers to file civil suits.
Previously, the Court of Justice of the European Union kicked the case back to Austria’s regional courts.
In a synopsis Schrems writes that the decision of the “represents a very important clarification of principle: Every citizen can not only file a complaint with the data protection authority, but also submit a lawsuit in courts. Facebook previously denied any right to submit lawsuits under the GDPR and the Vienna Regional Court previously sided with Facebook in the first instance.”
Schrems adds: "After a good four-and-a-half years, we have now slowly resolved various blockade attempts on Facebook. But this case shows that as a normal consumer has almost no chance that his or her lawsuit is heard. I'm already looking forward to having Facebook’ s countless privacy violations before a public court soon.”
Facebook is expected to appeal the decision.